KINGMAN — A Mohave County judge approved a plea agreement that he said was “entirely inappropriate” during a sentencing hearing in Kingman.
Judge Billy Sipe said he did so only because attorneys provided him confidential information during a private meeting in his chambers before the hearing.
Neither Public Defender Jon Gillenwater nor Deputy County Attorney Reid Weisberg would comment when asked if the judge was approving the deal because Jose Flores Del Angel, 37, was working with law enforcement authorities on drug matters.
Sipe said he disliked the charge reduction and the four-year prison sentence stipulated in the deal for the illegal immigrant from Mexico who had been residing in Oklahoma City. Del Angel asked to be deported but Sipe said he lacked authority to do so because he was not a federal immigration judge.
Weisberg said Arizona Department of Public Safety officers made contact with Del Angel during a Nov. 15 traffic stop on Interstate 40, just outside of Kingman. He said officers confiscated 14 pounds of methamphetamine from the floorboard Del Angel’s vehicle.
Del Angel pleaded guilty to attempted transportation of dangerous drugs for sale. Sipe credited Del Angel for 299 days already spent in custody to be subtracted from the four-year prison term.