DENVER – Former Aspen resident Montgomery Chitty was convicted Thursday of having a role in the distribution of hundreds of kilos of cocaine in Aspen over nearly a decade.
A federal jury of nine women and three men deliberated for four hours before announcing the verdict after hearing two days of testimony. Chitty, 61, faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison. He will be sentenced May 28.
As Chief Judge Marcia Krieger of U.S. District Court read the verdict, Chitty stared down at the defense table, a hand on his face. He shook his head slightly before looking at each juror as they confirmed their support for the verdict and took a drink of water as Krieger thanked the jury for its service.
The entirety of the evidence swayed jurors, the jury foreman said afterward.
“The prosecution was much more convincing,” he said. “If it was a small piece of evidence … but the totality of the evidence indicated a long-term enterprise.”
That evidence included three men testifying that Chitty took over a cocaine ring after the arrest of Aspen resident Wayne Reid. They told jurors that Chitty bought and sold more than 200 kilos of cocaine from 2002 to 2010.
Chitty’s son, who attended each of the trial’s four days, didn’t react after the verdict, but his girlfriend wept.
U.S. marshals cuffed Chitty behind his back.
“It’s all right, it’s all right,” he said as he was led away.
He also thanked his friend Phil Eastley, who testified Wednesday on his behalf.
“I’m perplexed by why the jury didn’t see reasonable doubt,” Eastley said.
The prosecution bribed witnesses who testified against Chitty, some of whom also were charged for roles in the trafficking ring, by granting them freedom, he said.
“It’s a rank system,” Eastley said.