Meth sentencing

April drug sweep nets fifth conviction

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In a terse speech from the bench Tuesday, Judge Mary Lynne James sentenced a Craig man to five years in prison for selling methamphetamine in Moffat County.

Vicente Gomez-Medrano, 28, pleaded guilty to possession and distribution of methamphetamine, two of six charges he faced. A plea agreement with the District Attorney's office guaranteed Gomez-Medrano a sentence of not more than five years in prison.

James spoke of methamphetamine's effect on the community when she sentenced Gomez-Medrano.

"Methamphetamine is a cancer on this community," James said. "I'm giving you five years in prison for giving that cancer to people in this community."

James ordered fines and restitution in excess of $7,000. She subtracted from Gomez-Medrano's sentence the 166 days he served in the Moffat County Jail.

Gomez-Medrano is the fifth defendant sentenced in connection with an April drug raid that netted nine suspects. Gomez-Medrano escaped that raid, but was arrested in July in Torrington, Wyo., and extradited to Moffat County.

Gomez-Medrano's attorney, Larry Combs, asked for a much lighter punishment -- six months in county jail. Combs said Gomez-Medrano was "under the influence" of his older brother, Benito, who was sentenced in October to eight years in prison for the same charges to which Vicente Gomez-Medrano pleaded guilty.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Dave Waite disagreed.

"Pure and simple, Mr. (Vicente) Gomez-Medrano is a drug dealer," Waite said. "He was involved as everybody else was. When they needed drugs, they went to his apartment. He sold a large quantity of drugs to undercover agents."

In preparing for the hearing, James said she reviewed the cases of the other defendants charged in the raid.

"The two people most involved were the Gomez-Medrano brothers," James said.

Police have said Benito Gomez-Medrano was the leader of the "drug organization," while Vicente Gomez-Medrano was the "primary distributor."

Both brothers will be deported to Mexico when they are released from prison in the Colorado Department of Corrections.

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com.

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