A Superior woman who, with a partner, trafficked more than a quarter-pound of methamphetamine, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Tuesday, Dec. 29, in federal court to three years in prison and three years of supervision.
Christina R. Nord, 35, and Steven J. Ranta, 42, were arrested on Dec. 31, 2019, after Superior police conducted a search of Ranta’s apartment and recovered about 5.5 ounces of methamphetamine.
Prior to the arrest, Nord sold methamphetamine three times to a confidential informant and Ranta did the same four times. The sales took place between Dec. 2 and Dec. 31, 2019, according to court documents.
In pleading guilty to conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, Nord faced a maximum sentence of six years in prison. However, her lack of prior drug convictions made her eligible for a lesser sentence.
Nord’s attorney, Kelly Welsh, said her client was brought up in a household where alcohol and drug abuse, and drug dealing were the norm. Nord’s drug use began while she was a teenager, living without parental support and a single parent.
Nord had a series of abusive boyfriends, and by the time she had her second child, methamphetamine had overtaken her life, Welsh wrote the court.
“You can add Ranta to that list (of abusive relationships),” Welsh told District Judge James Peterson.
Ranta was not a drug user, like Nord, but he used her for his benefit.
“Ranta took advantage of her drug addiction and the people she knew to expand his drug operation. It was a very unusual relationship,” said Welsh who requested a two-year sentence for Nord.
Ranta was so controlling that he locked Nord in his apartment when he left, and when Superior police arrived to arrest him, they found a second woman locked in a room, Welsh said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Taylor Kraus said Ranta was more involved in the drug conspiracy than Nord as his apartment was used for the bulk of the sales and his sources supplied the methamphetamine.
“She was not a criminal mastermind or operated a drug ring in the Superior area, manipulating someone for money,” Kraus said.
Ranta’s plea and sentencing are scheduled for Feb. 4.
Sober since being detained in early January, Nord said she looked ahead to a time when she would get her addiction under control and be a mother to her three children.
“I’ve been restoring myself mentally and emotionally with the help of a therapist in jail, and I’m looking forward to building myself back piece by piece,” she told Peterson.
Acknowledging that her addictions, past abusive relationships and mental health issues are mitigating factors, Peterson said punishment was the “main driver in the case.”
“Some of the sales she did on her own. Her Facebook records indicate she showed some independence from Ranta. She can’t totally blame Ranta or her addiction,” Peterson said.
The length of her sentence should be long enough for Nord to establish a foundation that would allow her to live a “pro social life ... plus a residential drug treatment program at a half-way house would make a ton of sense,” he said.