Jury sentences gang member to 60 years in prison

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District Attorney Greg Willis announced that Michael Vega, 32, of McKinney, was sentenced to 60 years in prison after the jury found him guilty of two intent-to-deliver drug charges and also learned of his history of violence and unlawful possession of firearms.

"This violent gang member and drug dealer got caught dealing even more dope while on bond for these crimes, and while in jail even directed others by phone on how to make and sell methamphetamine. Thanks to the excellent work by multiple law enforcement agencies, he's now off the streets of Collin County," Willis said after sentencing.

On May 7, 2019, Melissa Police Department Officer Weand ran Vega's paper tags as part of a routine traffic enforcement tool. The return information from dispatch revealed that Vega had warrants out for his arrest. Officers pulled over the vehicle and detained Vega. Officers recovered a large amount of methamphetamine and heroin during the traffic stop.

The jury found Vega guilty of two charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver. During the punishment phase, prosecutors proved up Vega's prior prison sentences for Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity, Assault of a Public Servant, and a federal sentence for Possession of a Firearm.

Prosecutors also presented evidence of two additional first degree Possession with Intent to Deliver charges that Vega committed while on bond. McKinney Police Department Narcotics Detective Joe Arp testified about Vega's well-known reputation in McKinney as a drug dealer, in addition to calls Vega made while in jail directing others how to make and sell methamphetamine. The jury also heard telephone recordings of Vega bragging about hurting animals, including shooting a dog twice in front of a friend.

Dallas Gang Unit Detective Paul Inman testified that Vega's tattoos confirmed his membership in the Tango Blast prison gang. Because of his prior conviction history, Vega's minimum punishment by law was 25 years. The jury assessed punishment at 60 years in prison. Judge Tom Nowak presided over the trial.

Assistant Criminal District Attorneys Ashley Briggs and Kriti Sharma prosecuted the case, assisted by District Attorney Investigator Mike Smith and Ryan Harvey.