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Ventura County

Airman Sentenced in Drug Case

Crime: Judge gives him credit for time already served in court-martial conviction in a parallel proceeding involving a Hells Angels conspiracy.


An Air Force clerk received a four-year prison sentence Monday after admitting he funneled prescription drugs from his Los Angeles base to a Hells Angels associate in Ventura, where prosecutors say the pills were later sold to local teens.

But Airman Joshua Adams, 24, was given credit for time he has already served on a nearly five-year military sentence. He could be paroled in coming weeks.

"What's happening is there are two sentences that are operating at the same time," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Kevin Suh.

Adams, who has been in military custody since 1998, was convicted on four charges at a court-martial two years ago. The violations included wrongful distribution of prescription drugs and making a false statement with intent to deceive a drug company, Suh said. Adams was sentenced to four years and 11 months in the brig.

While serving that sentence, Adams was indicted in Ventura County Superior Court, along with 15 others, for allegedly conspiring with Hells Angels members and their associates to sell drugs to high school students in Ventura and Ojai.

The drug pipeline allegedly began with Adams, who worked as a purchasing clerk in a medical squadron at Los Angeles Air Force Base.

According to the indictment, Adams ordered hundreds of bottles of Vicodin and Valium pills as a purchasing clerk at the base clinic and allegedly sold them to Rogelio Botello, 24, of Ventura, a Hells Angels associate.

Last month, Adams pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge and admitted to an allegation that he took more than $50,000 in property from the federal government.

Suh said it was possible to charge Adams in both jurisdictions because the violations were different.

During Monday's sentencing hearing, Superior Court Judge Bruce A. Clark formally sentenced Adams, who had no prior criminal history, to four years and then deemed the sentence already served. Clark also ordered Adams to pay the Air Force more than $50,000 in restitution.

Adams could be paroled from a San Diego military facility in the coming weeks.

"He cut him a lot of slack, but deservedly so," said defense attorney Earnest(cq) Bell. "This guy has been an extremely good inmate."

Nine Hells Angels are among 28 defendants charged with 132 criminal counts in eight indictments in Ventura County. Sixteen defendants, including Adams, are charged in the main conspiracy indictment.

So far, six of those have pleaded guilty to conspiracy and related charges and five have been sentenced.

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