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Gracie Miller | email@example.com
Gabriel Eduardo Yus-Baez, an 18-year-old freshman, was busted Feb. 9, 2017, here at Radford University for selling drugs.
Yus-Baez was a business major before he got caught. Authorities are referring to what he did as a “mini drug syndicate.” Authorities say he lived in an off-campus apartment that his drug business helped him pay for, where he sold marijuana, ecstasy, and cocaine. In that apartment, he allegedly also kept $25,000 in cash and a 9mm gun which was a discovered when the Radford police issued a search warrant on the apartment.
Radford Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Rehak, said during a circuit court sentencing hearing, “This isn’t some sandal-wearing hippie we caught here. This is a major player in some kind of drug organization.”
This is not the first time Yus-Baez has been caught with drugs. According to the Roanoke Times, Yus-Baez pleaded guilty in November to possessing drugs, including cocaine, ecstasy, and marijuana, with intent to distribute them. He was also charged then for possessing a gun while also possessing drugs.
This past Friday Yus-Baez was initially sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Yus-Baez then stated he knew he had earned a punishment after already spending a year in jail, but he was ready to turn his life around. “I still plan, even though this is going to get in the way for a moment, to move forward and start something better. Please find it in your heart to let me go out there and make a better life for myself,” Yus-Baez told the court.
Defense attorney, Jimmy Turk, claimed that Yus-Baez was infatuated with the idea of “fast money and a showy lifestyle.” Turk also used the phrase, “young, dumb, and stupid,” to describe the actions of Yus-Baez. Yus-Baez even agreed with these statements.
The Roanoke Times reported, the judge, Joey Showalter, ordered a $4,000 fine, ordered supervision by the probation officer for five years, and suspended his license for 18 months after his release.
Yus-Baez had multiple family members in the courtroom while his hearing was going on. His mother, Wanda Baez, took the witness stand and said, “You have put us in the most difficult situation of our lives.”
“I hope and pray he has the opportunity to prove he can do better,” Yus-Baez said. She also said she hopes her son will emerge from whatever punishment he receives and realize the potential that he had shown back in high school.
“You did nothing wrong, but unfortunately, your son did,” Judge Showalter told Yus-Baez’s family.
Yus-Baez tells the court that her family has felt threatened by people who have been connected to Yus-Baez’s drug business in both the Radford and Northern Virginia cases.
According to Rehak, during February of 2017, when Yus-Baez was arrested and beginning his second semester at Radford, he was making $9,000 bank transactions to someone in California while also renting an apartment under a fake name. Despite being only 18, “he was old enough to damage the community,” Said Rehak.
Showalter said that he thinks Yus-Baez is, “special,” and hopes that he will move forward.
Yus-Baez will receive credit for the one year he has already served. If he commits another crime during his five years of probations, he will receive a longer sentence.