Former Santa Cruz Man Sentenced to Over 19 Years in Prison for Drug Charges

A former Santa Cruz man, Paul Matthew Garcia, has been sentenced to more than 19 years in prison on drug charges related to a 2019 narcotics bust conducted by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Enforcement Team. The arrest took place on July 15, 2019, at a hotel on Soquel Avenue, where Garcia, now 34, and another individual were found in possession of nearly 4 pounds of narcotics.

The cache, weighing 3.75 pounds, included cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, psilocybin mushrooms, marijuana, and prescription pills, with an estimated street value of $102,000. Additionally, law enforcement officers recovered a loaded .40-caliber handgun, drug sales paraphernalia, and over $9,000 in cash during the operation.

U.S. Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey emphasized the importance of disrupting drug trafficking in Santa Cruz County, stating that federal criminal convictions carry significant prison time, particularly for those involved in drug trafficking while armed.

Paul Matthew Garcia’s prison term, which is for possession and intent to distribute methamphetamine, will run concurrently with a separate 26-year prison sentence he is already serving. United States District Judge Edward J. Davila handed down the sentence on Monday as part of a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Garcia’s legal troubles began with his federal indictment in February 2020. He was initially released on a $100,000 bond but later violated the terms of his release by failing to report to jail. Consequently, he became a fugitive from justice for over a year until his arrest by Sunnyvale police officers in April 2021. During his apprehension, Garcia attempted to evade capture by fleeing through a hotel and firing two shots at pursuing officers before being taken into custody.

In his plea deal, finalized in December, Garcia admitted to possessing methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin with the intent to distribute. He also confessed to possessing a semi-automatic pistol, failing to report to the Santa Rita Jail facility, and remaining a fugitive from justice. Garcia has a prior criminal record in Santa Cruz County dating back to at least 2010, with multiple convictions in between.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

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