The San Bernardino Sun reports that an alleged leader of a street gang who pled guilty to drug charges in March was recently sentenced to 11 years behind bars under a plea agreement. Sources indicate that the 29-year-old man had attempted to withdraw his guilty plea, but apparently changed his mind and was sentenced on multiple counts of felony drug charges on Nov. 18.
With the latest case, sources report that the accused now has five strikes on his criminal record. Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys are aware that the California three strikes law can lead to extremely harsh consequences when triggered. Apparently the three strikes law was not invoked in the recent case. Prosecutors who seek to invoke the law can ask the judge to sentence the defendant to a 25-year-to-life sentence for a third strike- offense.
The recent case reportedly involved a drug bust at a San Bernardino motel. Law enforcement had claimed that a state parole officer told police that the defendant was at the motel based upon information from a GPS tracking device. Police said that when they arrived at the motel, they heard sounds from the motel room that suggested someone might be leaving through a rear window.
Officers claimed they found the defendant at the rear window. Police say they saw another person flee from the scene.
Officers reportedly testified at a preliminary hearing that the defendant had slammed a motel room door, keeping police from easily entering the room. When police eventually entered, they claim the defendant and two others were flushing the toilet. Police reportedly seized 18 bindles of cocaine from the motel room’s toilet, and a loaded weapon from elsewhere in the room.
The 29-year-old reportedly pled guilty to possession of a controlled substance for sale, possession of a controlled substance while armed with a loaded firearm, participating in a criminal street gang and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Three other people are reportedly awaiting trial related to the drug bust. One other person reportedly took a plea deal related to the January drug crime investigation. That person was reportedly given a two-year prison term under the plea agreement.
Source: San Bernardino Sun, “Gang Leader sentenced in San Bernardino drug case,” Mike Cruz, Nov. 21, 2011