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Admitted drug-dealing gang member seeks time served

Updated: March 7, 2013 6:19AM



An East Chicago man who has admitted to helping deal 40 to 60 kilograms of marijuana with the Imperial Gangsters street gang is asking that he serve 18 months in prison, which would essentially equal time served.

Although federal attorneys are asking he serve more than that, they agree that he should get credit for time he served while accused of a homicide he didn’t commit.

Alejandro Balboa Lara’s attorney Adam Tavitas states in a sentencing memorandum filed Friday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond that his client played a minor role in the racketeering conspiracy of the Imperial Gangsters.

Lara has pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering, which comes with a maximum of 20 years in prison. Federal sentencing guidelines call for Lara to serve 37 to 46 months in prison.

Tavitas says in the request that Lara should get credit for the 11 months he was held in the Lake County Jail in connection to the homicide of Harris Brown in October 2008.

Lake County eventually dropped the murder charge against him, and federal attorneys have since charged Lara’s co-defendant, Juan Briseno, with the killing.

Because Lara didn’t commit the crime that saw him locked up for almost a year, Tavitas says, those 11 months should be taken off his sentencing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Nozick asked in the government’s memorandum, filed Tuesday, that Lara be ordered to serve 25 months in prison, which is still less than the recommended sentencing range.

Nozick says in the filing the government has seen no evidence showing Lara took part in Brown’s death.

“In particular, it is extremely unfortunate that Mr. Lara was charged and incarcerated for a homicide committed by Juan Briseno,” the filing says.

Federal inmates can be released after serving 85 percent of their sentence.

For Lara’s request of 18 months, that would mean he would be up for release after a little more than 15 months, which is how long he has already spent locked up in the Porter County Jail on the racketeering charge.

His sentencing is set for Feb. 12.



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