The following is a press release issued by the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office:
As anticipated, defendant Matias Tomas Vietto, age 22, of Argentina, was sentenced to state prison Friday morning for a term of five years. Vietto had worked in the Boonville area for five months as a field laborer while traveling in the United States on a tourist visa.
Vietto was previously convicted by plea of robbery in the second degree and personally using a firearm in the course of the robbery.
During the investigation, it was determined Vietto went south after the robbery and stayed in a hotel in San Francisco before boarding an Alaska Airlines flight at SFO heading for New York City. In New York, he was intending to board an international flight at JFK for Argentina but was intercepted and arrested by the New York Port Authority Police Department.
As part of the plea and sentence negotiations, the defendant’s parents in Argentina wired full restitution to Mendocino County to cover the loss of the market owners.
While being interviewed by Probation, the defendant reported that the robbery was due to his cocaine addiction. While he had engaged in substance abuse treatment two years earlier, Vietto said the cocaine in the United States is more potent than what he had experienced in Argentina. He claimed to have relapsed in Anderson Valley ten days prior to the robbery.
In a written statement to the court, the owners of Mi Esperanza said the following:
“This was a very traumatic event for us that changed our lives forever. It left us fearful and worried, but we are trying our best to move past this. We must continue working, as our livelihood and our family’s livelihood depends on it.
Though we will never be able to completely forget this incident, we are slowing working towards gaining back our overall sense of security and trust.
We send our heartfelt thank you to the law enforcement agencies that investigated this crime, the Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, the Court, Probation, the interpreters, and all those who have assisted us throughout the pendency of this case.
As victims, we felt that everyone prioritized our safety and best interests. Although this robbery had a significant impact on our lives, the work of law enforcement had an even greater impact.
We were highly impressed with the hard work and professionalism the law enforcement officials demonstrated throughout this investigation and how diligently they work to protect society as a whole.”
The prosecutor who handled the case from charging through sentencing was Assistant DA Dale P. Trigg.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Victoria Shanahan imposed the stipulated state prison sentence late Friday morning.