Alleged ‘Mall Boys’ gang member sentenced for trafficking fentanyl

An alleged member of the “Mall Boys” gang with a “direct connection” to drugs in Mexico was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison.

Darion L. Stargell, 28, was the target of an January 2017 investigation that concluded with shots fired at someone else at the Hawthorne Suites near the Dayton Mall.

Stargell pleaded guilty in Dayton’s U.S. District Court last fall to conspiracy to trafficking fentanyl, heroin and tramadol. He and seven other co-defendants were named in a 15-count indictment.

RELATED: 8 indicted for fentanyl trafficking, one an alleged ‘Mall Boys’ member

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rose said Stargell was to serve his time concurrent to his four-year Montgomery County Common Pleas Court sentence for trafficking in cocaine and having weapons while under disability.

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“I’m not perfect by far but I am a work in progress willing to make changes,” Stargell said, admitting that he’s spent about half the 10 years of adulthood in prison and now faces a fifth drug-related conviction. “I can be a productive citizen.”

Assistant U.S. attorney Brent Tabacchi said he hopes Stargell — who he said claimed he had a direct connection to drugs in Mexico — can turn over a new leaf, but the prosecutor advocated for the top end of an agreed-upon range of 6 to 10 years.

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The non-binding sentencing range for Stargell was calculated at 151 to 188 months. The statutory maximum for Stargell’s crime was 20 years in prison.

Rose told Stargell he heard the defendant’s pleas that he’s a changed man but said it was rare for a 28-year-old to reach career criminal status.

“People are all over the Miami Valley are dead from fentanyl, do you understand that?” Rose asked. “Now you are saying you have seen the light?

“I think you would have realized before now that you were not going to meet a good end with this kind of criminal activity.”

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Stargell has earned about 300 days of jail-time credit, according to common pleas court documents.

Rose also ordered Stargell to undergo drug treatment and counseling, to submit to DNA testing, to work toward his GED, get vocational service programming and perform 40 hours of community service in the first of his four years of supervised release.

Stargell shook his head when Rose announced the decision and later told several of his supporters in the courtroom that he couldn’t believe the sentence.

MORE: Read other stories from Mark Gokavi

Stargell, who Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer said is suspected as being part of the Mall Boys last year was arrested after an incident in which law enforcement thought he drove a pickup that rammed into R.A.N.G.E. Task Force officers, who returned fire and grazed another man at the Hawthorn Suites near the Dayton Mall.

The status of the other co-defendants: Fermin Garcia-Gutierrez pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced April 6; Jose Angel Ramirez-Nazario pleaded guilty and was sentenced Jan. 31 to time served; Sergio Candelas-Ruiz’s case is ongoing; Lizabeth Ruiz pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced May 8; Marcus Williams’ and Kuron Evans’ cases had scheduling conferences scheduled for Thursday; Jorge Bejarano’s case is ongoing.

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