Man gets maximum sentence for dealing methSeptember 11, 2017
By BILL POWELL
ROCKPORT — A 60-year-old Jasper man received the maximum sentence of 12 years last week after being arrested for dealing methamphetamine earlier this year.
Spencer County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Kelli Reinke arrested Sixto Cotto of Jasper on Feb. 27 following a monthlong investigation with the cooperation of a confidential informant, according to the Spencer County Prosecutor’s Office.
Police allege Cotto was observed and recorded delivering what was later determined to be 3.26 grams of methamphetamine to the informant during a controlled buy at the Stone’s Motel parking lot in Dale on Feb. 16.
Cotto then made a second delivery of what was later determined to be 3.19 grams of methamphetamine to the informant Feb. 24 at a Kimball International facility near Santa Claus, according to authorities.
An arrest warrant was issued for Cotto on Feb. 27 and he was arrested the same day by Reinke after she stopped him in his vehicle on State Road 162 near Santa Claus with the assistance of officers from the Santa Claus and Dale police departments.
A Spencer County jury convicted Cotto in June of two felony counts of dealing in methamphetamine and one felony count of possession of methamphetamine. The jury of six men and six women deliberated for approximately 20 minutes following a day and a half of testimony that concluded on June 21.
Following the conviction, Spencer County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Wilkinson said he appreciated “very much the time and effort Deputy Reinke put into this particular investigation and prosecution. Mr. Cotto is a repeat drug dealer who didn’t learn a lesson from his previous prison sentence and has continued to spread methamphetamine in our community. He deserves the stiffest penalty the law will allow.”
Cotto was previously arrested for dealing methamphetamine in Spencer County Jan. 24, 2003, and later pleaded guilty to possession of 29 grams of methamphetamine within 1000 feet of David Turnham Educational Center, a Class A felony.
He received a sentence of 50 years in 2004 that was later reduced by the Indiana Court of Appeals to 30 years.
Cotto had been released from prison only slightly more than a year prior to his arrest in this case in February of this year.
Spencer Circuit Court Judge Jon Dartt held a sentencing hearing on July 21 at which Spencer County Prosecutor Dan Wilkinson argued for the maximum sentence of 12 years. Dartt issued his final decision Sept. 5 and sentenced Cotto to the maximum sentence of 12 years in prison at the Indiana Department of Correction.
Cotto will be required to serve 75 percent of the sentence at the Indiana Department of Correction.
After the court issued its sentencing order, Wilkinson said he was “pleased that Cotto received the maximum sentence. Those who sell and distribute methamphetamine and other dangerous drugs and especially repeat offenders deserve and should receive harsher penalties and Sixto Cotto most definitely falls into that category.”
In announcing the sentence, authorities said anyone with information regarding drug activity in Spencer County is encouraged to report the information anonymously through the Crime Tip Line at 800-615-6088 or at spencoprosecutor.org/crime-tip-line/.
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