Watertown Police make arrest in overdose death

WATERTOWN, S.D. (KXLG) – Watertown Police have announced the arrest of 25-year-old, Ricardo “Ricky” Ortiz after their investigation into the overdose death of 24-year-Old Tyler Mertz of Watertown.

Police and Paramedics was called to an address in the 700 block of East Kemp Avenue in Watertown on Sept. 11, at 11:50 p.m. for a male who was unconscious and not breathing. Mertz was transported to Prairie Lakes Healthcare where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy was performed and the cause of death was determined to be from a fentanyl overdose.

After an in-depth investigation by the Watertown Police Department and South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, Ortiz was arrested and charged with distributing a controlled substance to Mertz, which ultimately caused his death.

A charge of distribution of a controlled substance is a Class 4 felony in South Dakota, however, the penalty is enhanced by two levels because the distribution resulted in the death of another person. That makes the charge against Ortiz a Class 2 Felony which is punishable by up to 25 years imprisonment and up to $50,000 in fines. At the time of Ortiz’s arrest, he was on parole for a prior conviction of distribution of a controlled substance.

Ortiz was arrested on Oct. 7 at 3 p.m. and transported to the Codington County Jail where his bond was set at $25,000 cash only.