Before his arrest, Orange County drug dealer Brian James Mondeau summoned the willpower to fight his addiction to methamphetamine by abandoning his life of crime, winning legitimate employment and entering the Betty Ford Clinic, moves that allowed him greater access to his cherished young daughter.
But Mondeau's role in a 2010-2011 criminal conspiracy to distribute meth at $1,200 an ounce to street dealers, one of whom was in reality a confidential law enforcement informant for the Santa Ana Gang Task Force, landed him in the uncomfortable position of facing a potential two decades in prison following a July 2013 arrest.
Considering the mitigating factors, Assistant United States Attorney Daniel H. Anh determined that the appropriate punishment for Mondeau (a.k.a. "Breezy") should be 72 months in prison because he helped put "a viciously addictive" drug on the streets.
A defense lawyer noted his client has "fundamentally changed his life" and argued the sentence should be one year of house arrest plus 1,500 hours of community service.
"The sentence which the defendant proposes, although it does not involve incarceration, is substantial, but also permits him to assist in raising his daughter, to maintain his employment [at an airport transportation company] and to continue on his path to a drug-free life," he told U.S. District Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford.
This week inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana, Guilford–known for his attention to even minute details of cases–decided the appropriate sentence is 57 months in prison plus 20 hours per week of community service during his three-year supervised probation term.
Mondeau, who was born in 1980, caught a break. Guilford declined to place him in custody at the sentencing hearing where his family and friends had gathered in support. The defendant has until noon on Feb. 20 to self-surrender to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, a circumstance that likely gives him a lower security status during his incarceration relative to others who are transported to custody in handcuffs.