OAKLAND – Joseph Edward Conner pleaded guilty in federal court in Oakland yesterday to possessing with the intent to distribute over four pounds of crystal methamphetamine announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge John J. Martin, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Michael Batdorf, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Inspector in Charge Rafael E. Nunez, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Director of Field Operations Brian J. Humphrey, and Acting Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Ryan L. Spradlin. All of the methamphetamine was at least 97.5% pure.
In pleading guilty, Conner, 47, of Bay Point, Calif., admitted he engaged in three transactions with an undercover officer working with the DEA in an effort to distribute the methamphetamine. On August 22, 2014, Conner negotiated the sale of a half-pound of 99% pure methamphetamine for $3,000. Conner sold the drugs to an undercover DEA Task Force officer in the parking lot of the Sun Valley Mall in Concord, Calif. Later, Conner used text messages to arrange another meeting with the undercover officer that would take place on November 6, 2014, at the same parking lot. Upon meeting with the undercover, Conner handed the officer a pound of 99.5% pure methamphetamine in exchange for $5,400. The third transaction occurred on December 16, 2014, for three pounds of 97.5% pure methamphetamine. On this occasion, Conner sought to sell the drugs for $14,400, but was arrested prior to completing the sale.
Conner was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 2, 2015. He was charged with three counts of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C). Under the plea agreement, Conner pleaded guilty to all three counts alleged in the indictment.
Following his arrest on December 16, 2014, Conner was released on a $150,000 secured bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for November 28, 2016, for a sentencing hearing before the Honorable Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr., U.S. District Judge, in Oakland. The maximum penalty for a violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841 is 20 years’ imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine. However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Claudia A. Quiroz, Andrew Dawson, and David Countryman are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Lance Libatique and Carolyn Jusay. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the DEA, assisted by IRS Criminal Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security Investigations, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, South San Francisco Police Department, Oakland Police Department, Oakland School Police Department, Walnut Creek Police Department, and San Ramon Police Department.
The case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.