A St. Johnsbury armed robbery suspect has had his request to throw out evidence against him denied by a federal judge. Rafael “Lex” Ortiz, 45, faces state and federal charges after being arrested on two outstanding state arrest warrants for the alleged robbery of Dylan Brink, 24, on Railroad Street. Ortiz was later arrested in Lyndonville by state police who said in court documents that he was in possession of illegal drugs and a gun which led to the federal charges. Ortiz’s defense attorney, Robert W. Katims of Burlington, filed a motion this summer arguing that the two arrest warrants and all the evidence seized should be thrown out due to questionable statements by Brink and others. But U.S. District Court Judge William K. Sessions III has denied the motion. “Ortiz has failed to offer sufficient proof that either of the two warrants issued for his arrest were deliberately or recklessly false, or that any of the alleged omissions were material to a finding of probable cause,” wrote Judge Sessions in his ruling on Dec. 15. “The Court therefore finds Defendant has not offered sufficient proof to overcome the presumption of the affidavit’s validity.” Ortiz is accused by the state of robbing Brink at gunpoint on May 7, 2021, in the parking lot of Horizon’s Deli at 652 Railroad Street in St. Johnsbury. Ortiz is also facing federal charges of possession of cocaine base, heroin and fentanyl with the intent to distribute, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and two counts of unlawful transport of a firearm.
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