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Cocaine dealer gets 2 years

Posted: April 8, 2012 - 12:10am

A man accused of possessing cocaine with intent to deliver in Juneau last summer — and dealing in December while he was out on bail — changed his plea to guilty this week in Juneau Superior Court.


A plea deal reached with prosecutors calls for Roberto Carranza, 24, to serve a total of two years in prison with an additional four years of jail time hanging over his head after his release. The deal also calls a total of three years of supervised probation.


California-born Roberto and his twin brother Jose Carranza, known collectively by a police informant as “The Twins,” were both arrested in July 2011 for receiving packages of cocaine with intent to deliver.


Prosecutors originally alleged the packages together contained 300 grams, about two-thirds of a pound, of cocaine from Guadalajara, Mexico, though it is undisputed now that there was a total of 200 grams, or about 100 in each package.


The street value of the drugs is disputed. Defense attorneys said 1 gram would be about $125, meaning the value of 100 grams would be about $12,500, or 200 grams at $25,000. Prosecutors said the purity of the cocaine is a consideration, and the value could have been much higher.


According to an affidavit filed by District Attorney Angie Kemp, a drug detection dog detected the drugs in the Cincinnati International Airport, and federal officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Drug Enforcement Administration tracked the packages to an apartment complex in Juneau.


There, officers made contact with the recipient, who told police he was paid to receive and deliver the packages to “The Twins.” The recipient agreed to be an informant, and JPD obtained a search warrant that allowed them to make video and audio recordings of the subsequent conversations between him and the Carranza brothers.


The affidavit states the informant delivered one of the packages to Jose, who then drove over to his brother’s apartment. The other package was delivered straight to Roberto.


Officers made contact with Roberto as he was leaving his apartment building in downtown Juneau where he admitting receiving and opening the package, according to the affidavit.


Upon searching Roberto’s apartment, police found metal bowls containing cocaine, as well as the remaining contents of the package, including “faux narcotics” in his trash can, according to the affidavit.


They were charged with one count each of third-degree misconduct involving drugs, a class ‘B’ felony that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.


Jose pleaded guilty in October to a reduced class ‘C’ felony charge, and was sentenced in January of this year. He received 18 months in suspended jail time, with no time to serve, and three years probation.


Roberto posted $2,000 bail on July 28 about two weeks after his arrest, but was arrested again in December when he sold a police informant a total of 50 grams of cocaine on Dec. 14, 15 and 16, according to charging documents.


Roberto was charged with three more counts of third-degree misconduct involving drugs as well as three misdemeanor counts of violating conditions of release for a felony.


On Thursday, Roberto pleaded guilty through an interpreter to the original felony charge of third-degree misconduct.


The plea deal in that case calls for three years of jail time with two suspended and three years probation, Kemp said.


In the second case against him, Roberto pleaded guilty to the same felony charge (third-degree misconduct). In turn, all the other counts were dismissed.


The plea deal in that case calls for four years of jail time with two suspended and three years probation.


The jail sentences for time to serve is to run concurrently, so Carranza will serve a total of two years in prison and have three years probation after his release.


The suspended jail time runs consecutively, meaning four additional years in jail time are hanging over Roberto’s head if he re-offends, Kemp said.


Juneau Superior Court Judge Louis Menendez accepted the deal, and scheduled a sentencing hearing for June.


• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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