A Riverside, California man who is described by his attorney as a “hard core drug addict” with a lengthy record will be doing four years in federal prison on gun charges.
Joseph “Spyder” Sanchez, 37, was arrested last September in a probation search at a residence where agents found him sitting on a couch with two bags that contained a Glock 19 and 10 rounds of 9mm ammunition. When checking the gun’s serial number, it was discovered that the gun had been stolen from a Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy during the previous 4th of July weekend.
Sanchez accepted responsibility for the gun and was taken into custody. At the time, he was on probation from a methamphetamine charge.
Court documents show that prior to his 2015 arrest on weapon charges, Sanchez had been convicted of no less than 10 other felonies going back to 1997 including drug and gun charges, passing bad checks, receiving stolen property, taking a vehicle without consent, criminal threats and assault with a firearm.
Sanchez pleaded guilty in May to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. To this, the government recommended 63 months in prison.
In his sentencing memo to the court, Sanchez’s attorney, Carlos Juarez, asked for 36 months and was blunt in his assessment of his client.
“Sanchez is a hard core drug addict who has lived a life of sorrow, criminality and frustration and he has allowed poor decision making to plague his young life, as he is only 37 years old,” wrote Juarez. “Before the Court is a young man who has little to show for himself and needs serious drug rehabilitation, psychological and mental health counseling to rid himself of the demons in his life.”
Juarez forwarded the court a handwritten letter from Sanchez attesting that he is attending Bible study daily while in prison, has reconnected with his estranged father, and is enrolled in a drug and alcohol rehab program.
“Upon my release it is my desire to aggressively work with the youth of my community and let my light shine in their dark world,” wrote Sanchez.
U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips handed down a sentence Monday of 48 months in prison followed by three years probation with a recommendation that Sanchez be sent to the Las Tunas, New Mexico facility to take part in a 500-hour RDAP program.
“This defendant has a lengthy and serious criminal record which disqualifies him from possessing a firearm,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker in a statement. “His new prison sentence was warranted because, not only was he in possession of a handgun and ammunition, he knew the gun had been stolen from a police officer and he was under court supervision at the time after being convicted in a narcotics case.”