A Salinas man with three previous drug trafficking convictions has been sentenced in federal court in San Jose to 13 years in prison for selling methamphetamine and illegally possessing a gun. Jose Ezequiel Monroy, 61, a Mexican citizen, was sentenced on Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh. He pleaded guilty in January to one count of distributing methamphetamine and one count of being an ex-felon in possession of a semi-automatic handgun in December 2009.
U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said Monroy also admitted in the plea agreement to selling methamphetamine and the handgun, a pistol, two shotguns and a rifle to a man who turned out to be an undercover agent. Monroy was originally charged in a 2011 indictment with possessing the additional weapons, but those charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement. Joseph Riehl, the agent in charge of the San Francisco office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said in a statement that drug traffickers who carry guns “are a threat to our community and should be held accountable.”
Defense attorney Thomas Ferrito unsuccessfully sought a lower sentence of 10 years in prison. He argued in a court filing that Monroy was “not a high-level meth and guns dealer” and had suffered from “an impoverished childhood devoid of adequate emotional support, education and food.” The 13-year sentence was at the midpoint of a range of 10 years to 15 years and 8 months that was agreed to in the plea bargain.
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