Police arrest 2nd suspect in drug-related shooting on Phoenix canal bank

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Israel Ortega By Jennifer Thomas Israel Ortega By Jennifer Thomas
Robert Patrick Nicolai By Mike Gertzman Robert Patrick Nicolai By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX – Phoenix police have made a second arrest in connection with a body that was found on a canal bank.

The body of Isaiah Orantes, 19, was found near 47th Avenue and Cholla Street shortly before midnight on Jan. 7. Police said Orantes had been shot.

Sgt. Tommy Thompson said Orantes and Robert Patrick Nicolai, 20, were involved in an illegal drug transaction when Orantes was shot. Nicolai faces a first-degree murder charge.

Police arrested a second suspect on Wednesday. Israel Ortega, 19, was booked into the Maricopa County Jail on suspicion of first-degree murder and armed robbery.

Through the course of their investigation, detectives learned that Orantes had conspired with Ortega to rob Nicolai of the marijuana he was selling. Ortega drove Orantes to the prearranged meeting location with Nicolai and dropped him off, according to Thompson.

Police said Orantes was shot and killed by Nicolai during the robbery.

Police believe that Orantes was armed with a handgun at the time he was shot, but it has not been found.

Thompson said Ortega is facing a murder charge because Orantes died during the commission of a felony.