A man from Elgin IL received a 30 year sentence in federal prison after he was convicted of several firearms and narcotics crimes in July. According to federal officials, this federal crime case is another good example of the successful cooperation of local, state and federal law enforcement in the investigation and the prosecution of federal gun and drug offenders in Illinois.
Joel Rivas, who is 35, lived in Chicago when he was arrested three years ago. He was sentenced last week by US District Judge Amy St. Eve. She stated in court that the long sentence was needed to protect American society.
Prosecutors noted that drug trafficking provides income for people who do not want to work hard and be legitimately employed, but this behavior must be severely punished, due to the harm it causes society. Prosecutors stated that the harsh sentence may help to stop others from making the bad choices Rivas did.
Rivas received a sentence as an armed career criminal after he was convicted this past summer for conspiracy to distribute large quantities of cocaine. He also was convicted of illegally carrying two handguns. He was a previously convicted felon on drug charges.
Evidence in this case showed that from 2007-10, Rivas and Ismael Miranda, 36, distributed large quantities of cocaine and marijuana to hundreds of customers in northern IL. Both men rented a storage garage in Elgin to do their illegal business of storing, packaging and selling various illegal drugs. In 2010, police in Elgin searched the storage garage and took into their possession cocaine and marijuana. There also was a loaded 357 pistol and a 9 mm pistol stored in the unit.
These types of storage facilities are being more commonly used for various illegal activities, including gun and drug crimes. However, federal authorities are aware of this, and are regularly getting search warrants and conducting raids on facilities suspected of illegal federal crimes.
The long sentence for Rivas was determined because he is an armed career criminal, according to federal law. This is based upon previous crimes and convictions going back to the 1990s for several state drug charges. Judge St. Eve also determined that Rivas did not tell the truth during his testimony. Rivas had been convicted in the past for possessing controlled substances with the intent to deliver, and for two different offenses of delivery of an illegal drug.
Miranda pleaded guilty and was given a 20 year sentence in federal prison. This case is a good example, federal prosecutors noted, of the long federal prison sentences that are being handed downed today when a defendant is convicted of major drug and gun crimes.