Darien drug dealer sentenced to 16 years in prison
The 2005 sentence, Judge Michael Gibbs said Wednesday, was a “great deal.”
But on Wednesday, when Quinonez stood before Gibbs convicted of similar charges, the judge was quick to send the man to prison for 16 years.
“You're part of a stream that results in death, terrible crime and terror and lives being ruined,” Gibbs told Quinonez. “Why? So you can make money.”
Quinonez's prison time will be followed by 14 years probation. He is not eligible for early release programs.
Authorities have said Quinonez, 30, and his father, Roberto Quinonez, 53, both of 25 Market St., Darien, are among the area’s main cocaine suppliers. Roberto Quinonez pleaded guilty to charges of delivering cocaine and was sentenced earlier this year to nine years in prison.
“He's in it strictly for business, money,” Gibbs said of the younger Quinonez. “He knows how destructive it is. He doesn't use it himself, but he doesn't mind it in the hands of anybody who comes by.”
While executing a search warrant at the duo's home, the Walworth County Drug Enforcement Unit seized a 14-ounce block of cocaine, $31,000 in cash, a 2006 Chrysler 300, a 1999 Chevrolet Blazer, a 1999 Dodge Intrepid and a 2000 Chevrolet pickup truck.
Sgt. Jeff Patek, who heads the drug unit, said the block of cocaine was worth $9,000 to $10,000. If cut and packaged separately, the cocaine could be sold for about $100 per gram, he said.
The Aug. 27 search warrant stemmed from a series of seven deals between Jorge and Roberto Quinonez and a sheriff’s informant over five months, officials said. During those transactions, the informant bought more than 3 ounces of cocaine using pre-recorded currency.
Deputy District Attorney Joshua Grube, the prosecutor in charge of the case, said the items were hidden inside a hole in a basement wall behind the house’s boiler. There were two packs of money, bags of cocaine and about 900 grams of cutting agent to mix with the cocaine, he said.
“He was dealing a lot of cocaine, he was making a lot of money, and he employed his father to essentially run around and do most of those deals for him,” Grube said Wednesday. “But he clearly was the man behind that operation, and it was very lucrative.”
“Plus, you were on probation at the time, which is just a mushroom cloud of aggravation,” Gibbs said.
In 2006, Jorge Quinonez faced 45 years when he pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to deliver cocaine within 1,000 feet of a park. He was accused of selling nearly 5 ounces of cocaine to a police informant. Police also found more than $100,000 cash and at least 39 grams of cocaine at his Sweet Road apartment in Darien.
“At the time of his arrest, he decided he wanted to work for the drug unit,” Grube said. “He did, ultimately, cause the supplier to be arrested.”
Quinonez’s sentence was withheld and he served one year in jail and was given eight years probation. But once he was out, Quinonez got right back into the deal again, Grube said.
“It's hard for me to feel any sympathy for Jorge,” Gibbs said.