YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The attorney for a man being sentenced later this month described their client’s childhood while asking for a federal prison sentence of no more than 10 years.
The sentencing memorandum filed for Raphael Ortiz, 42, in the U.S. Northern District Court Of Ohio before U.S. Judge Benita Y. Pearson, said that Ortiz grew up in a Youngstown neighborhood rife with drugs and violence and that he never met his father until he was 12.
Additionally, attorney Gal Pissetzky of Chicago said their client has used drugs since the time he was 11 and that usage increased after he was shot in 2016.
Ortiz is set to be sentenced Oct. 27 after he pleaded guilty in March to charges of distribution of fentanyl, being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime.
A criminal complaint was filed against Ortiz Jan. 7, 2021, a day after authorities served search warrants at his Wesley Avenue home and two homes on Neilson Avenue where an affidavit said Ortiz was suspected of storing drugs.
In the Wesley Avenue home, investigators found a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun in a closet and $26,315 cash in the kitchen.
At one of the homes on Neilson Avenue, investigators found cocaine, scales and plastic bags used to package drugs for sale, a .12-gauge shotgun, a .38-caliber revolver and a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun.
At the other Neilson Avenue home, investigators found five bags of fentanyl, a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun, a .22-caliber rifle and a .223-caliber semiautomatic rifle.
Ortiz is not allowed to have guns because of a 2002 conviction in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for possession of heroin and assault on a police officer and May, 2005, conviction in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court for drug trafficking.
Pissetzky writes that his client also suffers from depression and anxiety and once tried to take his own life when he was 12. He said Ortiz hopes to receive mental health counseling while he is in prison.
Pissetzky also writes that he objects to a sentencing enhacement sought by the government that says Ortiz was maintaining a drug house. He said Ortiz did not own either of the homes on Neilson Avenue and merely visited them from time to time. The homes were owned by relatives of Ortiz, Pissetzky wrote, and no drug manufacturing materials or shipping supplies were found in any of the homes.
A sentence of no more than 10 years would be enough to punish Ortiz and also protect the public, Pissetzky wrote.