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Rockwall County jury sentences drug dealer to 45 years

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On Monday, April 5, 2021, a Rockwall County jury convicted Dallas resident, Joel Vega, 31, of the offense of Possession with Intent to Deliver Methamphetamine in an amount of 4 grams or more but less than 200 grams.  Less than 20 minutes after retiring to deliberate on punishment, the jury sentenced Vega to forty-five (45) years in prison and a fine of $10,000. 

Jurors heard testimony presented by lead prosecutor Kim Judin that on Tuesday, July 28, 2020, Rockwall Police Department Officers Clayton Lamb and Brittany Layne observed a vehicle suspiciously parked in an empty parking lot in the 2700 block of Sunset Ridge.  Upon further investigation, they located two individuals in the car including Vega in the driver’s seat who had marijuana residue on his shirt.  Vega initially gave the officers a false name and claimed he had no driver’s license or ID.  Upon searching the vehicle, however, officers found a back pack that contained Vega’s wallet with his Texas ID as well as various other ID’s that had been stolen in a prior Dallas burglary.  That same back pack also contained ten individual baggies of methamphetamine along with scales, numerous empty baggies used for packaging narcotics, a bag of marijuana, and Xanax bars. 

In punishment, Assistant District Attorney Ty McDonald introduced evidence that Vega had been previously convicted and sentenced to a Texas prison for multiple prior offenses including Aggravated Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, Forgery, Burglary of a Motor Vehicle and Theft. 

“The jury sent a strong message to Mr. Vega and other drug dealers from Dallas County that this type of criminal activity will not be tolerated in Rockwall County,” said Assistant District Attorney, Ty McDonald.  “This five-time convicted and drug-dealing felon will no longer be able to poison our community.” 

“The criminal justice system continues to be hard at work in Rockwall County,” said Rockwall County District Attorney Kenda Culpepper.  “Our thanks to the jurors who showed up to do serious work at the courthouse over the last week.  It is important that criminals know they face serious time by committing crimes here – even during this time of uncertainty.”

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