A West Jordan man who said his drug money came from selling chickens and gold has been resentenced to 10 years in prison - and the judge who imposed it didn't like to do it.
Derek Aragon Mendes was part of a ring that distributed heroin along the Wasatch Front. He raised eyebrows when he testified he earned the $50,000 seized in a raid at his home by selling gold, 200 chickens from his chicken farm and some roosters used in cockfights.On March 27, 1987, Mendes, then 23, was convicted of conspiracy, possessing cocaine with the intention of distributing it and possessing heroin with the intention of distributing it. Eight months later, U.S. District Chief Judge Bruce S. Jenkins sentenced him to three years and four months on each count, plus six years' probation, to run concurrently.
Jenkins rejected a move by federal prosecutors to sentence Mendes to a mandatory minimum term of 10 years on the heroin charge, saying they had not proven he possessed enough of the drug to warrant a 10-year sentence.
The U.S. attorney's office appealed to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Earlier this year the appeals court reversed Jenkins and ordered him to sentence Mendes to the mandatory minimum.
Jenkins has now resentenced Mendes, but he made it obvious he didn't agree with the ruling.
"As noted in its original judgment, this court has never made any finding as to possession of the requisite amount," he wrote. "Moreover, this court has never been expressly asked to make such a finding. Indeed, the government acknowledged both in its supplemental memoranda and during argument that no such findings were expressly requested"
However, he added that the appeals court has ruled there was evidence of enough drugs to warrant the mandatory minimum. So he imposed the 10 years, a part of which will run concurrently with the term on the first two counts.