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Encinitas pro skateboarder avoids prison following drug trafficking plea

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Posted at 6:04 PM, Aug 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 21:04:36-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A professional skateboarder and Encinitas resident who pleaded guilty last year to federal drug trafficking charges was sentenced Friday to five years of supervised release, with one year spent on GPS house arrest.

Prosecutors had sought a 41-month prison sentence for Robert Lorifice, who pleaded guilty along with Elizabeth Alexandra Landis to charges involving the distribution and sale of heroin and methamphetamine.

Lorifice's attorney, Stefano Molea, said his 32-year-old client's path to drugs began when he fractured his tailbone, a "particularly painful" injury that led to an opioid dependence and eventual heroin addiction.

RELATED: Encinitas pro skateboarder, girlfriend admit federal drug trafficking charges

His substance abuse and other physical issues stemming from his injury affected a skating career that previously garnered Lorifice sponsorships and participation in the X-Games, where he won three medals.

Molea said Lorifice eventually "hit rock bottom" and "began associating with people that eventually led him down the path of selling drugs."

Molea said Lorifice has gone through rehab, enrolled in school, and secured his first non-skateboarding job.

"Mr. Lorifice is extremely grateful to the court for believing in him and giving him a second chance," the attorney said, "He looks forward to helping those in the skateboarding community realize the dangers of drug use and has recently teamed up with the Ryan Bowers Foundation to work with kids with the hopes of showing them how skateboarding can be a healthy outlet to obtain and maintain their sobriety."

RELATED: Three arrested in drug seizure at Encinitas home

Prosecutors said Lorifice admitted selling drugs out of his home, and disposing of methamphetamine and other substances when investigators served a search warrant at his home in 2018.

Investigators found 193 grams of meth, 231.6 grams of heroin, more than 800 Xanax pills, Roxicodone pills, marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms, along with materials used in drug sales, such as a digital scale, three cell phones and $16,824 in cash, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Lorifice's home was searched again that December, and on that occasion, he attempted to flush a "tennis-ball sized chunk of methamphetamine down the toilet," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Authorities also seized around 31 grams of black tar heroin, 18 grams of meth and $10,926 in cash from drug sales.

Landis, described by prosecutors as Lorifice's then-girlfriend in a statement issued last year, is slated to be sentenced in January.