Soria seeks appeal on methamphetamine conviction

 


A former Wrangell resident who was convicted in 2011 of being part of a drug distribution operation in the Borough and sentenced to more than three years in prison has asked a judge to review evidence in his case.

Marcelo Soria, 48, pled guilty in June of 2011 to one count of Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree – Delivery or Possession with Intent to Distribute a Schedule II or III drug.

Soria was indicted after information came to light that he was sending large amounts of cash to Mexico via City Market’s Western Union office. The payments were suspicious, court documents state, because of the size of the transfers and the inconsistency in amounts sent by other employees of the cannery where Soria was employed in 2011.

Police received confidential tips from three separate informants regarding Soria’s drug sales in the Borough as well. Those informants told law enforcement officers that Soria was bringing crystal methamphetamine into the Borough.

A search warrant was eventually served on Soria’s residence on March 30, 2011. During the search, police discovered 42.5 grams of methamphetamine, a digital scale, and numerous plastic baggies. Police also found two money orders in the amount of $6,000 at the residence.

Police said Soria admitted he had purchased the methamphetamine in Washington State and transported it to Wrangell where he sold to at least six individuals on a regular basis. He would then send money to his family in Mexico and a son attending college in Southern California.

In his appeal, Soria is seeking a reduction in the prison sentence stemming from an indictment issued in March of that year where he pled guilty to the MICS charge, while seeing a more serious charge of Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance in the First Degree – Criminal Enterprise dismissed.

Soria claims that he was never provided any evidence of the allegations against him, nor was “every” fact of the criminal investigation against him presented in Spanish, his first language. He also claims that his attorney never came to see him in jail, nor did his attorney appear personally in court on his behalf. In his appeal, Soria asks the court to reduce or reverse his sentence because “ineffective court proceedings” prevented him from receiving a fair trial.

Prosecutor Jean Seaton, in a written brief moving to dismiss the case, said Soria’s claims did not reach the level of ineffective assistance of counsel.

District Attorney Jean Seaton opposed Soria’s motion in August, and he filed an opposition to Seaton’s action in early October. Judge Kevin Miller declined to dismiss the appeal and granted Soria’s additional motion for an evidentiary hearing in the matter.

“Because the petition does not include an affidavit or the deposition of the trial counsel and because the petition does not allege any prejudice, the court should dismiss the petition for failing to state a prima facie case ineffective assistance of counsel,” Seaton wrote.

A ruling by Judge Miller on the hearing was not available by deadline for this story.

Soria, who is not a United States citizen, is currently facing deportation after he finishes his state prison sentence.

 

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