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Posted March 8, 2012 | comments Leave a comment

Man to serve time on meth charges

By Alex Bridges abridges@nvdaily.com

HARRISONBURG -- A Stephens City man must serve 15 years and six months in prison for dealing methamphetamines in the Winchester area a year ago.

Luis Pablo Vasquez, 31, appeared in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg on Wednesday for sentencing on one count of distribution of a mixture containing five grams or more of methamphetamines and one count of conspiring and agreeing to distribute 50 grams or more of the illegal drug.

U.S. Judge Michael F. Urbanski sentenced Vasquez to a total of 186 months for the charges, according to Brian McGinn, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Harrisonburg. Vasquez had pleaded guilty to both charges under an agreement reached between a federal prosecutor and his attorneys.

Each offense calls for the defendant to serve a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison for conspiracy and five years for distribution. Vasquez faced a maximum term of life in prison for his crimes, according to court documents.

A statement of facts filed in the case notes that Vasquez and co-defendant, Eliasar Valasco-Madrigal, distributed more than 50 grams of methamphetamines to an undercover law enforcement officer in Winchester on four occasions between Feb. 25, 2011, and April 12, 2011. Vasquez served as Valasco-Madrigal's "source" for the drugs in the transactions, according to the statement of facts.

Valasco-Madrigal received a 3-year sentence for convictions of charges related to the case, according to online court records.

A sentencing memorandum filed by U.S. Attorney Timothy Heaphy states Vasquez has a previous felony conviction for conspiring in 2007 to exchange a machine gun for cocaine.

Prosecutors note Vasquez committed offenses while on supervised probation related to this conviction. Prosecutors used this and the severity of the current offenses to argue for the 186-month prison term.

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