KIMBALL -- A California man who was arrested in Kimball County in November of 2021 received his sentencing for three felonies and one misdemeanor charge. 

Andrew Mendoza, 25 of Keyes, California, was found guilty by a jury trial in March on two counts of a class 2 felony for possession with intent to deliver, 1 count of a class 4 felony no drug tax stamp, and 1 count of a class 1 misdemeanor of carrying a concealed firearm while committing a felony. 

In District Court May 7, Judge Derek Weimer sentenced Mendoza to 36 months of probation and $5,000 of restitution. 

“The easy thing would be to send you to prison,” Judge Weimer said. “I’m going to not do that and instead I'm going to put you on the highest level of probation because of the seriousness of the crimes.” 

Based on the police officer’s findings at the time of the arrest and additional lab testing, Mendoza was carrying between 22 and 30 pounds of drugs. He spent 11 days in custody during the court proceedings. 

County Attorney David Wilson recommended to the court that Mendoza be sentenced to incarceration on each charge plus a restitution fine of $1,600 per pound of illegal substance he had in possession.  

Wilson pointed out that any time you have an instance where someone is in possession of an extensive amount of drugs, has a loaded gun with extra rounds of ammo, it is a dangerous situation for everyone involved. 

“The pre-sentence report does show that he doesn’t have an extensive prior record,” Wilson said. “I think we also have to understand that he’s here for serious charges." 

Mendoza’s lawyer Robert Harvoy requested a probationary sentence based on the efforts Mendoza has made to improve himself and his life since his offense. 

“He is taking this serious and is well aware of the seriousness of the charges,” Harvoy said. 

Mendoza addresses the court saying: “I have no ties, no relation to my past behavior. I am completely cut off. Not even as much as a traffic ticket. I know that the situation I've gone through is a serious matter. I’ve been trying to better my life.” 

Judge Weimer explained in court that on one hand he has a young man who was found guilty on serious, dangerous charges that usually sends people to the penitentiary. On the other hand, in the three years since it happened and prior to the offense, he hadn’t run into the law. 

“Mr. Wilson is correct in talking about the dangers involved in narcotics are a problem, and the inclusion of a firearm becomes a real problem because bad things can happen when that kind of equipment is immediately available,” he continued. 

It is also rare for someone to jump to this level of criminality as their first effort, Judge Weimer said. Mendoza has shown since his offense that he can stay out of trouble with the law, and he has taken the situation seriously and presented himself in court remorsefully and shown that he can be responsible based on his actions since his offense. 

Judge Weimer concludes by saying: “If you give me a reason to, if there are problems, if you are brought back to resentencing, I will take the easy choice and you will go to prison.”