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Drugs, firearms violations lead to 5 years in prison

Ortiz pleaded no contest to charges in three cases

The Maui News

A 38-year-old Molokai man has been sentenced to five years in prison in three cases, which involved crystal methamphetamine possession and unloaded firearms violations.

Second Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo followed a plea agreement in handing down the sentence to Ray Charles Ka Leialoha Ortiz on Jan. 3.

During sentencing, Oritz said he will “do the time” and “get home.”

Loo reminded Ortiz that when he commits crimes, “your family ultimately suffers because of your actions.”

“Don’t go back to your old ways,” she added.

“I’m done already,” he replied. “I’m too old for this sh– already.”

Deputy Public Defender Ben Lowenthal said there is a “glimmer of hope for him” having gone through Drug Court. But now, Lowenthal said, Ortiz has gun and drug charges to address.

He added that Ortiz grew up around hunting, and “guns are part of the lifestyle” on Molokai, where he is from. A family member said Ortiz is a “great dad” and was looking forward to him being back home with family.

Ortiz pleaded no contest to charges in three cases, one which occurred in 2017 and the other two in 2018, according to court records.

He pleaded no contest to two charges of a place to keep unloaded firearms other than pistols and revolvers for an incident on Sept. 30, 2017. Thirteen other charges relating to firearms, including theft of a firearm and possessing firearms while under indictment for committing a felony, were dismissed, according to a plea agreement.

Ortiz also pleaded no contest to two counts of promoting a dangerous drug in the third degree for two cases in 2018, one on June 27, 2018, and Sept. 17, 2018. Also, in the September 2018 case, he pleaded no contest to the charge of place to keep unloaded firearm other than pistols and revolvers.

Sixteen other charges were dismissed in the two cases, according to a plea agreement. The charges included those involving drugs and drug paraphernalia, as well as firearm possession.

In an unrelated case, 36-year-old Pamela Newton of Paia was sentenced on Jan. 3 to 142 days in jail, which she already has served, for falsely reporting to police that her vehicle was stolen.

Newton, who has an unrelated federal case, was to be released to federal authorities.

For the Hawaii case, Newton was among five people arrested July 22 in the robbery of a couple who reported being threatened at gunpoint when they went to recover a stolen car at Kaa Point in Kahului.

Defense attorney Chris Dunn said Newton was not even driving her car, which was used in the incident, and that Newton had tried to de-escalate the situation and told people to put the guns away.

Dunn said Newton’s only issue here is calling police to say her car was stolen to “distance herself” from the incident.

“She was trying to escape accomplice liability,” said Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Carson Tani.

During sentencing, Newton apologized to the court. “I put myself in that situation,” she added.

Newton pleaded no contest to one charge of false reporting to law enforcement authorities.

Newton was originally charged with first-degree robbery; two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening and attempted second-degree theft, which were dismissed, according to a plea agreement court records showed.