Mexican Drug Dealer Hoped For 50% Off Prison Punishment

Sweat formed on Rogelio Rico-Gutierrez's forehead when a CHP officer stopped him on the 91 freeway near Tustin Avenue in June 2013.

Rico-Gutierrez's worries were much larger than not possessing a valid California driver's license or having entered the United States without permission.

The then 33-year-old father of four drove from his Riverside residence into Orange County while smoking marijuana with a pipe.

But that fact also wasn't what really frightened the Mexican.

Rico-Gutierrez worked as a drug dealer who sold methamphetamine and at the traffic stop (orchestrated secretly by a Drug Enforcement Administration-related narcotics task force) he saw officers approach his Toyota Matrix with a drug sniffing K9, "Daktor."

In the vehicle and at his home he possessed 10 pounds of pure meth, according to a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department crime lab analysis. Officers also recovered two weapons, a 9 mm Hi-Point Luger and a Colt 1911 pistol.

Illegal drugs plus guns equal bad news. Sentencing guidelines called for a minimum, federal prosecutor-backed 235-month prison sentence, but Rico-Gutierrez argued for a 120-month term because, he said, he didn't want to miss watching his kids grow up.

This week inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana, U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna declined the request for leniency and sided with the prosecutor.

When the defendant emerges from prison sometime around 2033, he'll be deported.

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Email: rscottmoxley@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @RScottMoxley.

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