Brighton parents indicted on murder charge in daughter’s fentanyl death
A Brighton couple who allegedly participated in a drug trafficking operation “before, during and after” their nearly 2-year-old daughter died of fentanyl poisoning in January have now been indicted on charges of first-degree murder, child abuse and organized crime.
Alonzo Ray Montoya and Nicole Danielle Casias, both 31, previously had been charged in March with child abuse resulting in death and distribution of a controlled substance in connection with the death of their daughter, Aviyana Ramona Montoya.
But an Adams County grand jury on Sept. 8 indicted the couple on seven new charges, replacing the original two charges.
Montoya and Casias were charged with two violations of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, and in connection to Aviyana’s death, they were charged with first-degree murder, child abuse resulting in death and child abuse by manufacturing a controlled substance for actions taken between Jan. 1, 2021, and March 31, according to a news release from the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
The couple were additionally charged with knowing and reckless child abuse with no injury and another count of child abuse by manufacturing a controlled substance after they participated in the drug operation in front of their other daughter, according to the indictment.
The primary objective of the drug operation was to sell and distribute fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine throughout metro Denver, according to the indictment. They also distributed counterfeit pharmaceuticals containing fentanyl and counterfeit oxycodone pills, according to the indictment.
“A distinguishing feature of the criminal enterprise was the extremely dangerous and reckless manner in which Montoya and Casias conducted the drug trafficking activity,” the indictment said. “First, Montoya and Casias stored and maintained the illegal controlled substances, including substances containing fentanyl, in close proximity to their minor children.”
The operation was conducted out of the couple’s Brighton home, and they conducted business “on a daily, ongoing basis, at all hours of the day and night.”
The couple “frequently manufactured or distributed illegal controlled substances in the presence of their minor children, often exposing the minor children to the controlled substances,” the indictment said.
On Jan. 1, the day before Aviyana died, Montoya and Casias obtained a large quantity of illegal substances, including fentanyl, and brought it into their home, according to the indictment. The couple distributed it to customers from their home while Aviyana was there, according to the indictment, and allowed customers, and themselves, to use the drugs in their home.
“This drug trafficking activity and their related use of illegal controlled substances placed Aviyana Montoya in an extremely dangerous situation, exposed her to highly toxic and hazardous controlled substances containing fentanyl, posing a threat to her life and health, and which ultimately resulted in her death,” the indictment said.
Officers and emergency responders were called to the couple’s home on the afternoon of Jan. 2 after they reported their 23-month-old child was unresponsive and not breathing. Officers and members of Brighton Fire Rescue and Platte Valley Ambulance performed medical measures at the scene but Aviyana was pronounced dead.
The baby girl’s blood “contained 10 times the amount of fentanyl necessary to kill an intolerant adult user,” the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said in a news release in March.
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