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Derwin Lashun Webster: Defendant in large-scale drug operation sentenced to 30 years in jail

LOS ANGELES – A top lieutenant convicted in a multimillion-dollar drug distribution operation was sentenced today to more than 30 years in county jail, one of the longest sentences to date under the state’s prison realignment program, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Oscar Plascencia with the Major Narcotics Division said Derwin Lashun Webster was sentenced to 30 years, eight months in county jail by Superior Court Judge Bob Bowers Jr.

Webster was found guilty of six felony counts, including conspiracy to transport cocaine, possession of marijuana for sale, transportation of marijuana, possession for sale of cocaine, transportation of cocaine, and possession of a false compartment “with the intent to store, conceal, smuggle and transport” a controlled substance. Under AB 109, the state’s realignment measure to move felons from prison to county jail, Webster’s conviction did not qualify as a prison term.

A jury in July found Webster, 38, was a top player in a sophisticated drug smuggling and distribution ring that moved narcotics from Mexico through Los Angeles to the Midwest and Atlantic Coast.

The Moreno Valley resident was the last of seven in-custody defendants convicted of being part of the ring that was busted in May 2006. Authorities seized $28 million worth of cocaine, along with 657 pounds of marijuana, more than $1 million in cash, six handguns, two tractor-trailer rigs and other vehicles.

The alleged head of the operation, Steven Montes, of West Covina, is serving 25 years in state prison after pleading and being sentenced in 2009. Three additional defendants, Agustin Alvarez, Omar Cruz and Rufino Acevedo, are serving 16 years in state prison after pleading and being sentenced in October 2009.

Two defendants — Samuel Vivoros Murrillo, 49, and Joel Huerta Nunez, 46 — are fugitives.

Source: Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office of Media Relations

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Smitty

Why aren’t these guys sentenced and tried by the feds for federal crimes?