Cocaine trial begins for former Aspen resident
Ryan Summerlin February 25, 2013
DENVER – Former Aspen resident Montgomery Chitty is scheduled to stand trial Monday in Denver federal court on cocaine trafficking charges after spending more than a year in custody without bond.
Prosecutors plan to seek at least 20 years of prison time for Chitty if he’s convicted. Court records show that prosecutors will use potentially incriminating wiretapping evidence against Chitty, 61.
Part of the wiretapping evidence allegedly shows that Wayne Reid, the suspected ringleader of a cocaine-trafficking network that moved more than 200 kilograms of cocaine between Aspen and Los Angeles over a 15-year period, stated that Chitty was taking over his business in Aspen.
Chitty, meanwhile, has a list of more than two dozen witnesses. They include Reid; Randy Branch, who is Reid’s former girlfriend; Chitty’s son, Warne Chitty; local journalist John Colson; David Storm, an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration; and others.
Federal agents arrested Chitty on Feb. 13, 2012, in Big Pine Key, Fla. He was indicted by a Denver federal grand jury in December 2011.
His arrest came nearly nine months after DEA agents in May 2011 netted 10 people, including six in the Aspen-Snowmass area, on conspiracy charges that they were members of a drug ring.
Reid has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to sell more than 5 grams of cocaine and is awaiting sentencing.
Chitty was convicted in 1990 for smuggling marijuana into the United States, which is why prosecutors are seeking an increased penalty if he is convicted of the felony charge of conspiracy to sell at least 5 kilograms of cocaine.
A new conviction would net Chitty “a mandatory term of not less than twenty years imprisonment and not more than life imprisonment, a fine up to $20,000,000, or both, followed by a term of supervised release of at least ten years,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle R. Korver wrote in a January court filing.
Original charging documents against Chitty said that he faced a minimum of 10 years in prison and as much as a $10 million fine.
Chitty will be representing himself in the trial, which is scheduled to end Friday. A court-appointed attorney will serve as Chitty’s adviser. Chief Judge Marcia S. Krieger will preside over the jury trial.