A Cortez man who was arrested in 2016 on suspicion of importing drugs from Mexico was found guilty Nov. 29 of two out of the 11 charges originally brought against him.
Ryan Buffington pleaded not guilty in June to multiple felony and misdemeanor crimes, including drug possession and distribution, intent to manufacture or distribute drugs and possession of illegal weapons. Many of the charges have been dismissed by the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s office. A jury ultimately found him guilty of two drug possession charges and acquitted him of two distribution charges.
Buffington’s trial, originally scheduled for Oct. 16, began on Nov. 27 and lasted three days.
Buffington was arrested after a long investigation by the Cortez Police Department, sparked by various anonymous tips that suggested he and some associates were bringing narcotics and anabolic steroids into Cortez from Mexico, according to a November 2016 arrest affidavit. In May 2016, police obtained a warrant to search his house and reportedly found bags of cocaine, bottles of various steroids and multiple firearms and other weapons. He was arrested in November on a felony warrant.
By the end of Buffington’s trial, seven charges against him had been dismissed. They included distribution of a controlled substance, felony possession of a dangerous weapon, two counts of possession of an illegal weapon and three drug felonies committed as a “special offender,” meaning Buffington allegedly committed them under special circumstances such as possessing a deadly weapon and as part of a plan to import illegal drugs.
The jury acquitted Buffington of two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute or manufacture the substance. He was found guilty of the two remaining charges: one felony and one misdemeanor charge of possession of a controlled substance.
Buffington’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 18 at 11 a.m. He faces another jury trial scheduled for Feb. 5, in which he is being charged with violation of bond conditions, according to prosecuting attorney Matthew Margeson.