A freshman business major at Radford University will now have to spend time behind bars for running a ‘mini drug syndicate.’
By the time he was arrested, 18-year-old Gabriel Eduardo Yus-Baez was selling cocaine, ecstasy and weed to fund an off-campus apartment in Radford, Virginia.
There he kept $25,000 stashed away in a safe with a 9mm gun.
‘This isn’t some sandal-wearing hippie we caught here,’ Radford Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Rehak said at a sentence hearing on Friday, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
By the time he was arrested, 18-year-old Gabriel Eduardo Yus-Baez was selling cocaine, ecstasy and weed to fund an off-campus apartment in Radford, Virginia
‘This is a major player in some kind of drug organization.’
In November, Yus-Baez pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing drugs with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm around narcotics.
On top of the drugs, he also had $25,000 stored away and a 9mm gun
On Friday, Judge Joey Showalter sentenced the teen to 35 years behind bars but the term will be suspended once Yus-Baez serves five years and five months.
A $4,000 fine was also imposed on Yus-Baez’s, whose license is also suspended up until 18 months after he is released.
He must also undergo supervision from his probation officer for five years.
Rehak detailed that when Yus-Baez was in the midst of his second semester at Radford in February 2017, he operated ‘kind of a mini-syndicate.’
He explained how the 18-year-old was able to make bank transfers of $9,000 to someone in California. Yus-Baez also had an apartment in the city under a false name.
‘He was old enough to damage the community,’ Rehak added.
And while Yus-Baez understood what he had done to get punishment, he felt that the time he had served was enough to show change.
‘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 added.
His mother, Wanda Baez, took to the witness stand to share thoughts from the family.
When Yus-Baez was in the midst of his second semester at Radford in February 2017, he operated ‘kind of a mini-syndicate’
‘You have put us in the most difficult situation of our lives,’ she asserted.
But the mother was hopeful, feeling that her son could go out and contribute positively to society.
‘I hope and pray he has the opportunity to prove he can do better,’ she said.
Judge Showalter told the teen’s parents that they ‘did nothing wrong.’
‘But unfortunately, your son did,’ he added.
He turned to Yus-Baez and explained how having children would help him see the full severity of what he had done, adding that the boy was ‘special.’
‘Once you’ve pulled your time, you’ll still be young and I hope you can put it behind you,’ Showalter said.
Because he has served a year already, Yus-Baez only has to serve four years.