Powell Will Spend Decade In Prison

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Rick Earl Powell, charged with a long list of crimes including drug trafficking and the burglary of the local food bank last year, was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Peter Cahill to 13.5 years in prison.

"He was indicted for a whole host of crimes including the burglary of the St Vincent de Paul," Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores said. "We sentenced him on five separate cases."

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Rick Powell

Flores said Powell was given a lengthy sentence due to aggravating factors.

"The judge always has the choice of running sentences concurrently or consecutively -- at the same time or one after the other.

"Often you need to have some aggravating factors for why they should be run consecutively," Flores said. "The judge found that the aggravators in this case were that he had the prior convictions, he had an accomplice in some of the cases, and he committed them while he was on release conditions. Judge Cahill gave him aggravated sentences on each case to run consecutive with the other one."

According to Flores, Powell had drug convictions dating back to 1994. Each time Powell was released from custody, he'd commit other crimes, she said.

The Payson Police Department spent a great deal of time and manpower on the repeat offender, according to Police Chief Gordon Gartner.

"I think we've served either four or five search warrants on (Powell). He was very involved in the drug traffic in our community," Gartner said. "He is a habitual criminal. He was one of our major projects from the beginning, and finally he is going to be gone."

The final straw for Flores and Cahill came when Powell offended once again while out on parole.

"... While he was out, he committed several new offenses, provided dirty urine samples to the probation department and the total of it gave him 13.5 years so even with good time credit and when he gets paroled he'll be serving at least 10 years."

Both Gartner and Flores say they are pleased with the sentence Powell received.

"We see it as a success," Gartner said. "Those who we arrest repeatedly need to go to prison."

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