Steamboat Springs man faces up to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to sex crimes
Prosecutors and police in Steamboat Springs are relieved the victims of Miguel Diaz-Martinez won’t have to relive their experiences in a courtroom after Diaz-Martinez pleaded guilty Friday to charges related to accusations he exchanged drugs for sex with underage girls.
The 61-year-old Steamboat man accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty to three counts of human trafficking for sexual servitude, five counts of trafficking of minors for sexual servitude and one count of attempted sexual assault.
All the charges are felonies.
When he is sentenced in November, Diaz-Martinez faces between 46 and 50 years in prison.
Diaz-Martinez’s guilty pleas cancelled a trial that was scheduled to begin Sept. 18.
“The community has been safer since the day he was taken into custody,” Steamboat police commander Annette Dopplick said following the plea. “I am appreciative of the courage of the victims who cooperated with the investigation, because that really pushed forward this plea agreement today.”
Dopplick said Diaz-Martinez’s victims now have assurances they can continue with their recovery in a safe environment.
“I’m pleased our victims won’t have to endure the stress of a trial,” she said. “Obviously, the impacts are lifelong and profound.”
Deputy District Attorney Alex Jennings said the plea deal was the best outcome for both the victims and the community.
“This is a sentence that we are confident he will never get out of prison,” Jennings said. “It ensures we have to put neither a jury nor the victims through the trauma or the indignity of what he did to them.”
Diaz-Martinez appeared hesitant to plead guilty to the crimes Friday.
Judge Shelley Hill had to ask him three times whether he was still pleading guilty.
“Well, it seems like I have to plead guilty right now,” Diaz-Martinez said through an interpreter. “I don’t consider myself guilty of all these charges, but at this moment, I am pleading guilty.”
At one point, Diaz-Martinez appeared to have doubts about his chances of being exonerated at a trial.
“I guess the other choice is going to trial, and I have no chance of …” Diaz-Martinez said before his response was cut off by his attorneys.
Diaz-Martinez in April rejected a previous plea agreement that was offered to him.
Topics regarding student dress code, school curriculum, and a lighting upgrade project were among the most pressing on the agenda for the Moffat County School District Board of Education at its regular meeting Thursday, Aug. 22.