Another defendant in a drug-trafficking ring allegedly run by Fresno’s former deputy police chief Keith Foster was sentenced Monday to 12 months of probation.
Jennifer Donabedian also will have to perform 100 hours of community service, Judge Anthony Ishii said in U.S. District Court in Fresno.
Donabedian and her lawyer, Eric Fogderude, of Fresno, declined to comment after the sentence was announced. But in court, Fogderude said Donabedian wrote in a letter to the judge that she apologizes for her actions and plans to live her life in the future “honestly and productively as a member of society.”
In September, Donabedian pleaded guilty to a felony charge that says she knew Denny Foster, Keith Foster’s nephew, was a major marijuana dealer, assisted in his illegal operation, and failed to tell authorities about it.
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A federal indictment, unsealed in April 2015, charged Keith Foster, the former No. 2 man behind Police Chief Jerry Dyer, with participating in three separate conspiracies to distribute different controlled substances. A criminal complaint spells out the evidence against the defendants.
Foster is charged with conspiring with co-defendant Randy Flowers to distribute oxycodone, a prescription painkiller that is addictive. The 13-page indictment also charged Foster and Rafael Guzman Jr. with conspiring to distribute heroin. In a third alleged conspiracy, Foster is charged with conspiring with Ricky Reynolds, Donabedian, Sarah Ybarra and Denny Foster to distribute marijuana. Flowers and Denny Foster are Keith Foster’s nephews.
Donabedian is Denny Foster’s girlfriend. Ybarra is friends with Donabedian and Denny Foster.
In November 2015, Ybarra was sentenced to a year in prison for mailing marijuana through a package delivery company. Guzman was sentenced in October to 40 months in prison.
Keith Foster, Denny Foster, Randy Flowers and Ricky Reynolds have denied taking part in any drug dealing and have pleaded not guilty to the charges. His trial, and that of three other defendants, is scheduled to begin in May.
The plea agreement does not require Donabedian to testify against the remaining defendants. Guzman and Ybarra also don’t have to testify against the defendants.
Donabedian’s relationship with Denny Foster also was not discussed in court other than Fogderude saying she committed the crime because “she was partly blinded by love.”
In receiving probation, Ishii took into account that Donabedian had no criminal history. “Other than this abhorrent event in her life,” Fogderude said Donabedian has led a positive life, working in a steady job and helping the homeless. “She is a very giving person,” Fogderude said.
Community service was not part of the plea agreement, but Ishii said probation officials felt it was appropriate. Fogderude said Donabedian had no objection to doing 100 hours of unpaid community service.
In addition, Donabedian will not be allowed to own or possess firearms or dangerous weapons, or use drugs. She also must allow law enforcement officials to search her home at any time and won’t be able to own a cellphone without her probation officer’s permission, the judge said.