Oak Park Drug Dealers Receive Over 96 Years in Prison
JUN 15 -- SACRAMENTO-- Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) Special Agent in Charge Javier F. Peña and United States Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced the sentences today for twelve members of a drug trafficking ring who operated in the Oak Park neighborhood of Sacramento.
Talton Robinson, 40, of the Oak Park area of Sacramento, received the largest prison sentence of the 12, getting 262 months (21.9 years) from United States District Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr. The defendant had previously entered a plea of guilty to the charge of conspiracy to distribute over 50 grams cocaine base (“crack cocaine”) after a prior felony drug offense conviction. Robinson's prior convictions include rape by force, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of cocaine base for sale while armed.
Judge Burrell, in sentencing the defendant, said: "This type of drug trafficking is dangerous in any community in which it occurs."
This case is the product of an extensive/joint investigation by the DEA Mobile Enforcement Team (MET), the Sacramento Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), targeting drug traffickers in the Oak Park section of Sacramento. At the request of Sacramento Police Chief Albert Najera, the MET was deployed to Sacramento in October 2004. MET had previously completed a successful operation in the Franklin Villa area of Sacramento in 2002. By working with local agencies to target organizations causing drug-related violence and to arrest key individuals for narcotics trafficking, MET has helped reduce violence in hundreds of communities across America. This MET, deployed out of the DEA's San Francisco Division, travels to geographic areas throughout Northern California.
From October 2004 through January 2005, the MET team worked side-by-side with the Sacramento Police Department, the United States Attorney's Office in Sacramento, and the ATF, culminating in 58 arrests - 24 defendants were charged in federal court, while 34 were charged in state court. Of those arrests, 5 defendants were charged with federal firearms violations, while the remainder were charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, distribution of controlled substances, or possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. Most of the defendants had prior felony drug convictions which, in some cases, doubled the mandatory minimum prison sentence under federal law. Among the individuals arrested, 23 were documented gang members. These joint enforcement efforts included the execution of 31 search warrants. Throughout the investigation agents and officers seized crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, MDMA (Ecstasy), and marijuana. The majority of the drug traffickers charged were operating retail distribution sites in residential areas which were the subject of frequent complaints from local residents.
According to Assistant United States Attorney Anne Pings, who prosecuted the case, one of the purposes of this joint endeavor was to strategically enforce federal drug laws against individuals who, despite multiple prior convictions of similar drug trafficking crimes in state courts, continued to supply illegal drugs for sale in the local neighborhoods. When prosecuted in federal court, drug traffickers typically receive much harsher sentences. In addition to the longer sentences imposed, unlike state court prisoners who are released early on parole, there is no early release on parole in the federal system. After serving virtually their entire sentence, defendants in the federal system must also serve a period of supervised release in the community.
Some of the other defendants from this investigation recently sentenced to federal prison following convictions for possessing firearms or selling drugs in or around the Oak Park neighborhood include the following: EBONY PIPKINS, 31, sentenced to 120 months (10 years) in federal prison; JAMES E. DAVIS, 60, sentenced to 122 months (10.1 years) in federal prison; TYREE SWINDELL, 27, sentenced to 120 months (10 years) imprisonment, to be served at the Federal Correctional Institution in Safford, Arizona; LINDA CHANEY, 31, sentenced to 103 months (8 years/7 months) in federal prison; ANKOMA RIDDICK, 29, sentenced to 97 months (8 years/1 month) in federal prison; SHON STEPHENS, 46, sentenced to serve 92 months (7 years/7 months) in federal prison; ROBERT L. ROBINSON, 37, sentenced to 84 months (7 years) to be served at the Federal Correctional Institute in Milan, Michigan; JUAN AVILES, 26, sentenced to serve 60 months (5 years) in federal prison; MARIA MAGANA, 29, sentenced to 37 months (3 years/1 month) in federal prison; TYRONE COPLEAND, 26, sentenced to 33 months (2 years/9 months) in federal prison; and TIMOTHY PAIGE, 35, sentenced to serve 30 months (2 years/6 months) in federal prison with a special condition on his term of supervised release that he not be present at all in the Oak Park area for 5 years; if found in this area during this term, he is subject to arrest by police and return to federal prison. Several other defendants arrested in connection with this investigation have entered pleas of guilty to federal offenses and are still awaiting sentencing.
“DEA is committed to keeping drugs off our streets and away from our children. These harsh sentences reflect our commitment,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Peña. “Collectively this group will have nearly a century to think about the error of their ways.”
“The long absences of these drug dealers resulting from some of the lengthy sentences the courts have imposed in these cases will help Oak Park, one of Sacramento's most historic neighborhoods, to continue to thrive,” said United States Attorney Scott.