A Rockwall County jury Monday convicted Joel Vega, 31, of Dallas of possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine in an amount of 4 grams or more but less than 200 grams.The jury then sentenced Vega to 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, the officers 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.
A search of the vehicle had officers find a backpack that contained Vega’s wallet with his Texas identification as well as various other IDs that had been stolen in a prior Dallas burglary, the officers’ report stated.
That same backpack also contained 10 individual baggies of methamphetamine along with scales, numerous empty baggies used for packaging narcotics, a bag of marijuana, and Xanax bars, the report added.
In punishment phase of the trial, 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,” McDonald said. “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.”