MUSKEGON, Mich. — Although he was only 21 years old, Corvontay L. Cooper already had three drug convictions when police in Muskegon County nabbed him last spring with heroin and a loaded handgun.
His prior drug convictions did not result in prison time.
That changed last week. A federal judge in Grand Rapids ordered Cooper to serve eight years in prison for dealing heroin and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
“Cooper has a troubling history related to narcotics, including that he keeps dealing heroin despite several recent convictions,’’ Assistant U.S. Attorney Davin M. Reust wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
His most recent arrest came on April 26 after a Muskegon police detective attempted to stop the vehicle Cooper was driving. Cooper fled. He eventually got out of the vehicle and ran from the detective, court records show.
As he ran, Cooper hid heroin and a loaded 9mm handgun, court records show.
“Cooper intended to distribute the heroin,’’ according to court records. “And he was carrying the firearm to protect himself during narcotics sales.’’
He was indicted on four felony offenses. Cooper pleaded guilty in September to possession with intent to distribute heroin and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, a potential life offense.
U.S. District Court Judge Gordon J. Quist sentenced Cooper to three years on the drug charge and five years on the weapon offense. The sentences will be served consecutively. Once out of prison, Cooper will serve six years on supervised release.
In a sentencing memorandum, defense attorney Sean R. Tilton wrote that Cooper, now 22, was raised in a “difficult environment’’ and dropped out of high school in his senior year.
Cooper did not have contact with law enforcement until he was 19. “Since that time, he has been using drugs and has had two state convictions for drug delivery and one conviction for drug possession,’’ Tilton wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
Tilton said the drugs involved in the federal offense constituted “low-level or street quantities.’’
“Mr. Cooper is young,’’ Tilton wrote. “His criminal history started relatively recently, at the same time that he began using drugs. He has goals for the future and intends to be law abiding.’’
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