SAN FRANCISCO – Vincente Cruz was sentenced today to 120 months in prison for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and related charges, announced Acting United States Attorney Alex G. Tse and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Jill Snyder. The sentence was handed down today by the Honorable Edward M. Chen, United States District Judge.
Cruz, 36, of San Francisco, pleaded guilty on November 15, 2017, to the drug distribution-related and firearms possession-related charges. According to his plea agreement, on September 26, 2016, Cruz possessed and sold more than 55 grams of methamphetamine. Cruz further admitted that on October 25, 2016, he possessed a .22 caliber Ruger pistol as well as methamphetamine that he intended to distribute. Cruz admitted that at the time he possessed the pistol, he was legally disqualified from doing so because of a prior felony conviction. Additionally, Cruz admitted that on October 27, 2016, he sold another 92.9 grams of a substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine.
On June 29, 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Cruz and co-defendant Etevati Levi, charging them both with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(viii), and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(viii). In addition, Cruz was charged in the indictment with one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(viii), and being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Pursuant to his plea agreement, Cruz pleaded guilty to all four counts with which he was charged in the indictment.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Chen also sentenced the defendant to a five-year period of supervised release. Cruz has been in federal custody since entering his guilty plea on November 15, 2017, and will begin serving his sentence immediately.
For his part in the scheme, Levi pleaded guilty on September 27, 2017, to the two charges filed against him in the indictment. On December 13, 2017, Judge Chen sentenced Levi to 60 months in prison and four years of supervised release. Levy is in federal custody and has been serving his sentence since August 23, 2017.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Kreuzkamp is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Tong Zhang. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the ATF and concludes another case brought as part of Operation Cold Day, an effort spearheaded by the ATF to bring federal resources to bear in support of ongoing state and local efforts to combat gun and drug-related crime.