MADISON — A Baraboo man who had a pound of pure methamphetamine sent to his Eighth Avenue residence was sentenced Thursday in federal court to 7½ years in prison for attempting to possess the controlled substance with the intent to deliver.
Froylan R. Castro, 25, had been receiving methamphetamine from a California source last year when a drug-sniffing dog alerted postal inspectors to a package.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Reinhard said the package “didn’t look right,” or may not have had a return address that made inspectors suspicious of its contents.
According to crystalmethaddiction.org, a pound of methamphetamine can have a street value of more than $35,000.
Police officers waited for the shipment to arrive at Castro’s residence on Oct. 11, and then executed a search warrant. They recovered methamphetamine and cocaine in a karaoke machine box. Also recovered was a .357 magnum pistol, ammunition, more than $8,000 in cash and digital scales. Police also recovered two more karaoke boxes with tool marks on them indicating that Castro had hid methamphetamine at his house on prior occasions. Also recovered were eight cellular phones, with one used to track a UPS shipment, and surveillance cameras that could alert Castro to anyone approaching the house, according to court documents.
Castro was arrested with his roommate, Kenia Martinez, 25, who has pleaded no contest in Sauk County Circuit Court to a drug charge.
A Sept. 20 status conference before Judge Wendy Klicko has been set in her case.
Castro’s case was transferred to federal court “due to the sheer size and sophistication of the drug operation,” District Judge William Conley said Thursday.
Castro pleaded guilty in May to a methamphetamine charge and faced a five-year statutory mandatory minimum prison sentence and a 14.5 year minimum under the advisory sentencing guidelines.
The government attributed about a pound of “ice” or pure methamphetamine and nearly 3 ounces of cocaine to Castro.
Reinhard said Castro deserves more than five years in prison due to his prior offenses, the quantity of drugs involved and possessing them while on supervised release from his California crimes.
His attorney, Nathan Otis, sought a five-year sentence for Castro, saying he deserved some leniency because he grew up in Stockton, California with eight siblings an abusive father and a mother addicted to methamphetamine.
“The family was hungry and homeless, sleeping on the roofs of buildings, in parks, or when they were lucky, piled into a van,” Otis wrote the court.
Castro found protection and food from older men in the community, and in exchange, got involved in their drug trafficking, Otis wrote.
Castro later was convicted in California for unlawful possession of a firearm and threatening a public officer.
After serving short jail sentences, he and his girlfriend moved to Wisconsin to escape street gangs and his troubled past, Otis said.
For a while Castro worked and seemed to be on the right path, but “inexplicably,” returned to drug dealing, Conley said.
Castro couldn’t explain why he fell back into drugs other than “greed.”
“I don’t want you to think of me as a bad person. Just someone who made a bad decision,” Castro told Conley.
Conley said he would reduce the sentence from the guidelines partly in consideration of Castro’s harsh upbringing and this is his first federal offense.