Goshen News, Goshen, IN

May 8, 2014

Coke dealer sentenced to 32 years in prison


---- — GOSHEN — A Goshen man was sentenced to prison Thursday on a drug-related charge.

Alvaro Gonzalez-Diaz, 31, formerly of Oakwood Drive, will serve 32 years in the Department of Correction, according to the sentence handed down by Elkhart Circuit Court Judge Terry Shewmaker. Gonzalez-Diaz was given credit for the 487 days he’d already been incarcerated.

Gonzalez-Diaz had previously pleaded guilty to a Class A felony count of dealing in cocaine. He’d originally been charged with five counts of cocaine dealing.

Prosecutors alleged that the crimes took place on June 5, Aug. 8, 14 and 30, and Sept. 27, 2012. Each transaction involved nearly an ounce of the drug, Judge Shewmaker said in Circuit Court Thursday.

Defense attorney Mike Yoder said his client has drug and alcohol addiction issues. He said Gonzalez-Diaz committed the offenses to support his addiction to cocaine, not to make money or get rich. Yoder also referenced the amount of the drug involved.

“We’re not talking kilos of cocaine,” he said, to which prosecuting attorney Donald Pitzer later countered, “They’re not eight-balls, either.”

Yoder acknowledged that his client is in the United States illegally, adding that Gonzalez-Diaz was 17 years old when he was brought here by his father. Pitzer noted that by the time Gonzalez-Diaz was 18, “he was already picking up arrests in Elkhart County.”

Given the chance to speak, Gonzalez-Diaz — who was aided in court by a translator — stood up, turned around and faced his family members in the audience section.

“I want to ask for forgiveness from God and my family,” he said. “I did it because of my addiction.”

Gonzalez-Diaz said he would commit to a rehabilitation program so he could be a better person in the future, and also spoke of his faith in God. Two woman Gonzalez-Diaz addressed were in tears.