Federal Judge Sandy Mattice on Monday told drug dealer Dequan Labrando Lacy he had faced a mandatory 10-year sentence, but he said he had "dodged a bullet" by getting his sentence cut substantially by testifying against his half-brother.
Prosecutor Chris Poole said Lacy was a key witness in the trial earlier this month of London Cross, who was convicted by a jury of drug sales. Cross is looking at an extensive prison term when he is sentenced on Aug. 6.
Lacy was sent away for five years and three months.
His initial sentencing guideline was 63-78 months. It was bumped to 10 years because he had a prior drug selling conviction and weapon conviction. However, it was knocked back down to the 63-78 months due to his cooperation with the prosecution.
Prosecutor Poole did not object to it being set at the low end of the guidelines.
Lacy, 34, pledged to come out of prison a better man and not go back to selling drugs. "I want to be a better person when I come out," he said.
He was convicted in state court in 2005 on the drug and weapons charges and got a year's sentence that was suspended.
Agents from the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Chattanooga Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration combined in investigating the brothers.
An informant said Lacy was supplying large quantities of marijuana to Cross. On July 3, 2011, Officer George Ramiro initiated a traffic stop of a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado registered to Lacy. His wife, Makesha Lacy, was found to be driving the vehicle, and she gave consent to a search. A black duffel bag containing $164,995 and a firearm were found in the vehicle.
The same day, officers stopped a blue BMW with dark tinted windows and found Lacy inside. There was a strong odor of marijuana from the vehicle, and Lacy said he had smoked a "blunt."
In the vehicle, officers found $2,908.
Also that day, a search of the Lacy home turned up two sets of large digital scales, five sets of small digital scales, an electronic money counter, some Western Union receipts, a loaded shotgun, an assault rifle, a ballistic vest, over 200 hydrocodones, almost $3,000 and several cell phones.
On the same day, agents recovered 25 pounds of marijuana, approximately $61,000 in cash, scales and packaging material, and two guns from Eric James, who said that Lacy had just fronted the items to him.
Agents said Lacy admitted that he was a marijuana dealer. He said he was dealing with two Jamaicans from Atlanta and that he bought 30-40 pounds a month of marijuana from them for the past 7-8 months. Before dealing with the Jamaicans, he said he dealt with an African named "Ru." He bought 30-40 pounds of pot a month from "Ru" for about a year.
He admitted that the gun found in the truck his wife was driving was hit and that the guns, scales and money counting machines were also his. He said he and Cross broke the marijuana down into dime bags and sold it from his "trap house" in Chattanooga.
He said he stole the money found in his truck from the Jamaicans.