By Joe Beck
A Stanley man accused of presiding over a large methamphetamine distribution ring in Shenandoah and Page counties was sentenced to 10 years in prison in U.S. District Court on Thursday.
Jose Delores Payan, 44, also will serve 10 years probation for convictions on conspiracy to distribute at least 500 grams of methamphetamine and illegal reentry into the United States, according to online federal court documents.
The documents also show that Payan might not be serving his probation in the United States. Judge Michael F. Urbanski ordered him to report to an immigration official for deportation proceedings upon completion of his prison sentence.
Payan's attorney, David Downes of Front Royal, sought a lighter sentence. In a memorandum submitted to Urbanski in late May, Downes asked for a sentence of six to eight years. He cited what he described as a disparity between Payan's purported numerous sales of methamphetamine and his impoverished lifestyle."
"Specifically, the government seized no money or assets from his residence," Downes wrote. "He lived with his stepmother in Woodstock. The photographs of his family were consistent with the lifestyle of a starving artist.
"His wife and he supported themselves by caring for an elderly neighbor (now 93 years old) for $350 a week. His previous employment included farm labor and work at the chicken plant in Broadway. He has been poor his entire life."
Payan's wife, Sheila, was sentenced to two years in prison on May 28 for her role in the conspiracy and another defendant, Gerald Keith Lutz of Woodstock, received a five year prison sentence.
A statement of facts in the court file says Jose Payan admitted buying and selling more than 5 pounds of methamphetamine in the year leading up to his arrest. Authorities called Payan the principal source of the drugs sold in the conspiracy.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org