A Gainesville man was sentenced Monday in federal court after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
Josue Guerrero was ordered to serve five years in prison and pay a $100 fine by U.S. District Judge Richard Story in Gainesville’s federal court.
Guerrero’s charges stemmed from a two-year undercover drug investigation into motorcycle gangs conducted by federal agents.
Defense motions, statements from attorneys and testimony in one trial have asserted that the investigation was a case of government overinvolvement, referred to colloquially as entrapment.
Guerrero’s attorney said his client’s case was the result of a drug conspiracy largely executed between law enforcement and a confidential informant.
“This case was a conspiracy between an undercover officer, an undercover informant and a couple of kids who were broke enough to say, ‘Sure, you can give me $100,’” Gainesville attorney Arturo Corso said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment on Guerrero’s sentence.
Four others from Gainesville have also been charged. The investigation implicated at least 22 others in six separate cases.
Davey Honeycutt, 42, was charged with cocaine conspiracy and possession and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Brandon Musser, 28, was charged with cocaine conspiracy and possession.
Both pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and face a minimum sentence of five years in prison.
Phillip Honeycutt, 47, charged with cocaine conspiracy and possession, pleaded guilty to use of a communications facility in the distribution of a controlled substance. The charge carries no mandatory minimum and a maximum sentence of four years imprisonment.
Reynol Castrejon, 22, pleaded guilty in March 2013 to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in August 2012 as the indictments were being handed down that all but two of the defendants charged in the investigation had direct ties to the Outlaw Motorcycle Club or other motorcycle groups affiliated with and controlled by the Outlaws.
Corso said his client was roped in to an undercover informant’s effort to weasel his way out of pending charges, and in desperation fed the government false information.
“He told them he could enlist local Sur 13 gang members to distribute drugs for the Outlaw motorcycle gang,” Corso said. “Instead, he seduced young Hispanic men who were not gang members, just unemployed, and told them they could make $100 from a ‘drug dealer’ by standing on a street corner for an hour to keep a look out for police while he was down the street supposedly packaging drugs for sale.”
“The informant was high on cocaine when he did this and the drug dealer was really a federal agent.”
Corso said the informant even profited from the investigation, pocketing $100 after telling the defendants they’d receive $200 from the transaction of fake drugs.
“All the government proved is that if you offer $100 to a poor kid with no job and no prospects, you can get him to give into temptation and do something stupid,” he said. “These kids don’t understand the law. They think that if they didn’t see any drugs, touch any drugs, talk about drugs, then they didn’t have anything to do with the crime.”
He described the case as a “colossal waste of time and money” for years of manpower and resources.
“In the end, the government discovered there was no motorcycle gang. There was no drug distribution network of gang members,” Corso said.
Thus far, one defendant of the six cases stemming from the investigation has received a jury trial in Gainesville.
Dawsonville man and Wingmen Motorcycle Club member James Robert McGlothlin was found guilty by a jury Sept. 25 on charges of knowingly selling a firearm to a convicted felon.
Sentencing dates have not been scheduled for the Honeycutts or Musser.