Felony Charges for Teen Who Received Stolen Firearm

A Utah teen is facing felony charges after receiving a stolen firearm in a drug trade.

Risky business

Photo by: Vulcan Rider

18 year old Matthew Ortega was arrested after a stolen firearm he had received in trade of drugs was linked back to him by the gun owner. Ortega, who had acquired the stolen weapon previously, had posted the gun for sale online where it was seen by the original owner. Law enforcement officers were notified and contacted Ortega, who came clean about how he had acquired the weapon. The firearm had been stolen a few weeks before by another individual and although Ortega was not involved in the burglary of the firearm, he is facing theft charges for receiving stolen property.

Receiving stolen property

When someone is the knowing recipient of stolen property, they may be charged with theft according to Utah Code 76-6-408 which states: “A person commits theft if he receives, retains, or disposes of the property of another knowing that it has been stolen, or believing that it probably has been stolen, or who conceals, sells, withholds or aids in concealing, selling, or withholding the property from the owner, knowing the property to be stolen, intending to deprive the owner of it.” Section 76-6-412 adds that “Theft of property and services as provided in this chapter is punishable:

(a) As a second degree felony if the:
(i) Value of the property or services is or exceeds $5,000;
(ii) Property stolen is a firearm or an operable motor vehicle; or
(iii) Property is stolen from the person of another”.

Since Ortega was just the recipient of the stolen firearm (ii) and that firearm wasn’t taken from another person, but from off their property (iii), he is facing a reduced charge of third degree felony theft. This lesser but still felony charge is likely due to the value of the firearm being between “$1,500 [to] $5,000” as stated in Section 76-6-412.

Legal purchases only

Since Ortega is 18 years old and legally an adult, he will face charges in district court and he could face up to five years in prison. Teens and young adults who purchase items from friends or acquaintances should ensure the items sold are the legal possessions of those listing them for sale. If the buyer has a hunch the items are stolen, they should trust that hunch and not participate in the deal. Teens under the age of 18 or those older who are restricted from owning firearms should refrain from buying or otherwise obtaining a gun to avoid related criminal charges. For more information on charges related to firearms, contact a knowledgeable attorney.

Utah Teen Arrested for Back to School Threat of Gun Violence

A 17 year old Utah teen was earlier this month for a back to school threat of gun violence that left students and parents more apprehensive about the return of the school year.

Back to school

Photo by: Jorge Diaz

Returning to school after a long summer can be tough for kids as they navigate a changed schedule with different teachers and sometimes even a new school. To add to the chaos and uneasiness of returning to class for an Orem high school was the threat of gun violence by a senior the day before classes resumed. The 17 year old girl who was not named due to her being a minor posted a video on Instagram showing her loading a gun and saying: “You ready for your first and last day of school?” Worried parents alerted police to the alarming video and the teen was later arrested for making a threat of gun violence against a school, a threat of terrorism.

Terrorism

The girl may have been serious about her threat of gun violence or she may have been playing a joke. Regardless, she is facing multiple charges including a second degree felony for making a threat of terrorism for her social media post. Utah Code 76-5-107.3 states “A person commits a [second degree] threat of terrorism if the person threatens to commit any offense involving bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage, and: threatens the use of a weapon [or hoax weapon] or mass destruction. .  or acts with intent to. . . intimidate or coerce a civilian population.” That section goes on to explain that “A threat . . . may be express[ed] or implied.”

No laughing matter

With more kids and parents being on edge following the increase of school shootings around the nation, making a “joke” threat of gun violence ends up not being funny to anyone involved. Kids and teens need to be warned about the ramifications of making these types of serious threats. Those minors and their families who are facing legal trouble following a hoax threat are encouraged to see a reputable attorney to handle the juvenile or district court case.

19 Year old From Southern Utah Facing Nine Felonies for Sexual Abuse of Tweens

A 19 year old from southern Utah was arrested on multiple charges including nine felonies after two tweens came forward claiming to be victims of sexual abuse.

Consensual…and not

Photo by: AK Rockefeller

19 year old Kaden Luwayne Barber was arrested in St. George Friday after two 13 year old girls came forward claiming Barber had sexually abused them. One of the tweens told police she and Barber had exchanged inappropriate messages with each other and had engaged in sexual relations. According to reports, that sexual activity did not take place against her will. The other 13 year old told investigators that Barber had sexually abused her while at his home and that he continued after she asked him not to.

Not of consent age

While Barber is facing charges for taking indecent liberties with one of the 13 year old against her will, he is also facing criminal charges for his sexual activity with the other tween with who the sexual activity was “consensual”. The reason for this is that a 13 year old is not considered old enough by Utah law to give consent for sex. Utah considers all minors under the age of 16 to be too young to consent to any sexual activity. Any teen or adult involved in sexual activity with a minor under the age of 16 will face criminal charges. Once a teen is 16, they and the other party will not face charges as long as the age difference isn’t greater than seven to 10 years, depending on the older person’s knowledge of their age.

Sexual abuse felonies

Photo by: Rae Allen

Barber’s sexual abuse of the two tweens is likely to result in him spending several years behind bars. The 19 year old is facing three class B misdemeanors as well as:

• Two counts of dealing in harmful material to a minor, each a third degree felony;
• Two second degree felonies for sexual exploitation of a minor for producing, distributing, possessing child pornography (exchanging nudes);
• Three second degree felonies for sexual abuse of a child or inappropriate touching of a child under the age of 14;
Aggravated sexual abuse of a child for touching and penetration of genitalia (not amounting to rape) “. . . by force, duress, violence, intimidation, coercion, menace, or threat of harm”, a first degree felony;
• One first degree felony for rape of a child for having “sexual intercourse with a child who was under the age of 14 years at the time of the offense” according to Section 76-5-402.1.

For legal counsel related to sex offense charges or for more information on the age of legal consent in Utah, consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney. For minors facing similar charges, consult an attorney that also handles cases in juvenile court.

17 Year Old Utah Teen Arrested For Ordering Illegal Drugs from China

A 17 year old Utah teen, who was involved in the overdose death of two Park City boys in 2016, was arrested recently for again ordering illegal drugs from China.

Dark Web drug order

Photo by:
Jakub Hlavaty

A 17 year old female from Park City, Utah was arrested after authorities intercepted multiple shipments of illegal drugs the teen had order off the Dark Web – an anonymous online network known for illegal activity. The teen, whose name is being withheld due to her age, was charged with four second degree felonies for distribution of a controlled substance. One of those charges stemmed from the teen’s role in the overdose death of two boys in 2016.

Overdose deaths of two 13 year olds

In 2016 two Park City Utah boys were found dead after an overdose of a synthetic drug nicknamed “Pink”. The 17 year old female taken into custody this week was alleged to be involved with those boys obtaining that drug from a seller in China. Prior to the boys’ deaths, it is reported they had enlisted the help of the older teen by having her order the drugs and have them delivered to her home. She obliged, and that shipment of drugs later led to the death of the two 13 year old boys.

Young addict

Photo by: katmary (Subject not pictured)

After the deaths of her friends, the teenage girl was open about her struggle with drug addiction; she even went as far as to speak publicly about it. Unfortunately, even though she obviously knew the risk of using drugs -especially from an unknown overseas source- her addiction was too strong and she relented to the craving. Hopefully through the charges against her she will be able to get the substance abuse rehabilitation she needs and not become another victim to the deadly epidemic of addiction sweeping the nation. Anyone, regardless of age who is looking for help with substance abuse is encouraged to call SAMHSA’s national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP. Those needing legal counsel stemming from drug charges should consult with an attorney.

Utah Teen Fleeing Police in Stolen Vehicle Causes Fatal Accident

A Utah teenager fleeing police in a stolen vehicle caused a fatal accident in Santaquin on Sunday.

Fleeing in a stolen vehicle

Photo by: Scott Davidson

Officers from the Payson City Police Department were on the lookout for a stolen truck when an officer on duty spotted a 17 year old juvenile driving the stolen vehicle Sunday night. The officer attempted to pull the teen over, however the teen failed to stop on command and fled. Later that same evening another officer on I-15 near Santaquin attempted to pull the teen over when the teen again failed to stop for police, resulting in a pursuit. While evading the police officer, the teen left the interstate and collided with a vehicle, critically injuring the other driver. That other driver who was a 17 year old female later died from her injuries.

Felony charges

The teenage driver of the stolen vehicle was transported to the hospital for injuries sustained in the accident but will be transferred to the custody of a youth detention center upon his medical release. He will face numerous charges which could include:

• Theft of “an operable motor vehicle”, a second degree felony as stated in Utah Code 76-6-412;

• “Failure to respond to officer’s signal to stop . . . and while so doing causes death or serious bodily injury to another person” another second degree felony (41-6a-210);

• Other felony charges if it is determined the boy was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If the teen’s charges are transferred from juvenile court to district court, he may face several years behind bars. For legal support regarding juvenile cases or those that may involve both courts, contact an attorney that handles both juvenile and criminal defense cases.