A drug delivery service chief found guilty of distributing Fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid, was recently convicted.
On Wednesday, a sentence of 30 years in prison was handed down, which fell below the prosecution’s request but exceeded the defence’s plea.
During the sentencing in Manhattan federal court, it was revealed that Billy Ortega was responsible for providing the drugs that led to the tragic overdose deaths of Amanda Scher, Ross Mtangi, and Julia Ghahramani in March 2021. The victims’ families were in court as the sentence was handed down.
In a heart-wrenching letter to Judge Ronnie Abrams, Lauren Lackey, the mother of Mtangi, speaks of the devastation caused by Ortega’s greed and indifference. She believes that Ortega does not care about the catastrophic impact of his actions or the far-reaching consequences their families will have to bear. Lackey’s son was fatally poisoned by Fentanyl, an incident that continues to weigh heavily on her heart and soul. The pain caused by this tragedy is palpable in her words, a testament to the profound loss she and her family have suffered.
From left to right, the individuals in the photograph are Julia Ghahramani, Ross Mtangi, and Amanda Scher.
For at least seven years, Ortega was at the helm of a drug trafficking scheme that involved distributing harmful drugs within the city through a team of workers.
As per the claims made by federal prosecutors, he relied on his close friends and family members to manage his stash house and delivery operations, which were being carried out from a public housing unit.
In March of this year, he added Fentanyl to a subpar batch of cocaine and sold it to at least five buyers, who were unaware they were getting a dangerous drug.
On March 17th, 2021, a surveillance video was captured when a drug courier delivered the fatal doses.
Prosecutors have blamed Ortega for his customers’ deaths, citing his deliberate and personal introduction of Fentanyl into his cocaine. They claim that he was fully aware of the deadly nature of the drug and still willingly distributed it to his customers, displaying a callous disregard for human life. Furthermore, a warning from the first customer who used the deadly batch was ignored, as Ortega decided to sell the same poison to four other customers, ultimately resulting in the deaths of Ghahramani, Scher, and Mtangi. Ortega’s actions reveal a blatant disregard for the well-being of others and showcase the dangers of drug trafficking.
To secure a lighter sentence for 37-year-old Ortega, her defence team requested that she be given no more than 25 years in prison. They argued that her troubled upbringing should be considered as a mitigating factor.
According to the defence sentencing memorandum, Billy had a challenging childhood as his parents were separated, and his father was hardly ever present. Although he lived with his mother and grandmother, his grandmother took on the role of his primary caregiver as his mother struggled with rehab and was in and out of it.
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- Oswego County drug task force busts a Fulton drug operation and makes multiple arrests.