Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Santos gets 10 years for drug dealing

Former boyfriend of Sarah Johnson eligible for parole in 2018


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Bruno Santos, right, watches as his attorney, Dan Dolan, center, discusses details of the case with prosecutor Matt Fredback. Photo by Willy Cook

Bruno Santos, known as the former boyfriend of convicted murderer Sarah Johnson, was sentenced Monday in Blaine County District Court to 10 years in prison for delivery of cocaine in April 2010. He will not be eligible for parole until 2018.

Johnson, who was convicted of killing her parents in 2005 in Bellevue, is now serving two life prison sentences without the possibility of parole.

Santos is currently serving a 14-year sentence for selling a half-pound of methamphetamine to undercover police in May in Hailey. Elgee allowed Santos to serve the two prison terms concurrently, with credit for 435 days already served in the Blaine County jail.

Santos was arrested with his cousin Jose Benitez-Diaz, 27, from Ogden, Utah. The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has accused both men of being in the United States illegally. Upon release from prison, Santos faces likely deportation from the United States.

"All I want is to get over this and return to Mexico," Santos said through an interpreter at the sentencing hearing Monday.

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Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback said Santos has already been deported from the United States on three occasions, beginning in 2003.

Santos' attorney, Dan Dolan, told the court that his client was employed at a restaurant at the time of the cocaine drug deal, and had been lured into the deal by undercover police. Dolan also said Santos had little or no intention of profiting from the cocaine transaction.

"He might have made $50," Dolan said.

However, Elgee told Santos that "whether you made any money on these [transactions] is not important to the court. There are a number of factors that indicate you are involved in the drug trade."

Elgee stressed that Santos' behavior in prison will impact his future.

"If you join a gang or get in trouble in prison, you might be there a long time. The choice is yours," Elgee said.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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