Vegas woman sentenced for drug trafficking conviction

Vegas woman sentenced for drug trafficking conviction

A woman charged with trafficking heroin and methamphetamine was sentenced to probation earlier this month.

Jocelyn A. Lovato, 30, of Las Vegas, was charged with six felony charges in April 2019 after she sold narcotics to an undercover officer with the Region IV Drug Task Force.

Lovato accepted a plea agreement in February 2021, pleading guilty to two counts of trafficking a controlled substance, and one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance; however, sentencing was delayed due to court-ordered evaluations, a change in judges and delays related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

A final sentencing hearing took place Dec. 1 in District Court where Lovato faced a maximum of 6 years of imprisonment. Prosecutors from the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s office asked Judge Michael Aragon to sentence Lovato to prison, citing the danger posed to San Miguel County by illegal drug trafficking.

“The state further argued that too many citizens of our community are dying from overdose,” read a statement from District Attorney Tom Clayton. “Statistics show that a person dies of drug overdose every 14 hours. In San Miguel County, the rate of death due to drug overdose is double the national average.”

Ultimately, the court sentenced Lovato to five years of probation and ordered her to undergo substance abuse treatment.

“I recognize the need for treatment in our community, and that is an option that we must consider,” Clayton said. “However, to those who sell this poison to our citizens — to our brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, friends, etc. — this must stop.”

LVPD Chief of Police Antonio Salazar said in a statement that his department has recently devoted more resources to drug enforcement and has been working with other law enforcement agencies in the area to curb the sales of drugs in the community.

San Miguel County Sheriff Chris Lopez said in a statement that law enforcement has been adjusting to “deal with the drug epidemic,” and stressed the need for enforcement, prevention and treatment options.

“In this case and other similar cases, my deputies place themselves in harm’s way to expose those who are poisoning our community,” Lopez said. “It is our hope lawmakers will take a good look at revisiting much-needed changes to our laws and processes so we can properly address the spread of addiction and the resulting criminal activity.”

Lovato was initially charged with three counts of trafficking a controlled substance, two counts of distribution of a controlled substance within a drug-free school zone and one count of possession with intent to distribute.

The charges followed a task force operation where an agent with the Region IV Drug Task Force purchased meth from Lovato in March 2019 using money from the task force’s contingency fund.

Three other similar purchases were arranged in April 2019 where agents purchased cannabis, heroin, Suboxone and more meth.

Lovato was released Dec. 2 and is subject to conditions of release, including maintaining regular employment and submitting to regular drug and alcohol screenings. The remaining felony charges will be dismissed if she abides by the terms of the plea agreement and completes the five years of probation.

Lovato could still face prison time if she were to violate the terms of the plea agreement or her conditions of release, but would receive a pre-sentence confinement credit of 505 days for time served.
Vegas woman sentenced for drug trafficking conviction
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