An Orange County man arrested on drug charges in March while he was free on bail pending appeal of a 25-year prison sentence in a separate drug case began serving an additional 25 years in prison this week following his sentencing in Los Angeles federal court.
U.S. District Judge James M. Ideman imposed the sentence Monday on Mark Steven McFarlane, 30, of San Clemente, calling him a “major cocaine dealer” who had not been deterred from crime by his first prison sentence. Based on evidence presented at his trial, Ideman said McFarlane merely went “back into (the cocaine) business.”
McFarlane was indicted April 2 by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles after he was arrested as the behind-the-scenes man in a scheme to purchase two kilograms of cocaine for $62,000 from federal Drug Enforcement Administration undercover agents.
At the time of his arrest, McFarlane was free on bail pending appeal of the 25-year prison sentence he had received for his role in the Mobley cocaine ring, dismantled last year after a massive investigation by the FBI and the DEA.
The Orange County-based ring was described by federal authorities as the largest drug network ever prosecuted on the West Coast. The ring, according to investigators, dealt in millions of dollars of cocaine smuggled into the United States from South America.
McFarlane, who received the second-longest sentence in that case, was free on $250,000 bond pending an appeal on the grounds that illegal wiretaps were used in breaking up the ring.
In the new case, federal agents looking into an alleged drug operation observed a man subsequently convicted in the case, Ali Reza Naimi Mohases, 34, at McFarlane’s San Clemente home.
Mohases was later arrested at a house in El Toro after buying cocaine from agents, and McFarlane was found inside the house, Assistant U.S. Atty. Laurie Levenson said.
McFarlane, who pleaded guilty in connection with his role in the Mobley ring, pleaded innocent in the new case and went to a jury trial. He was convicted Aug. 21 of conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine but was acquitted of two other counts after the jury deliberated nearly four days.
In the sentencing Monday, McFarlane received 15 years on the conspiracy charge and 10 years for being convicted of a crime while free on bail.
McFarlane, who is being held without bail, said nothing at the sentencing.
He was taken from the courthouse to the Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island, where Levenson said he is expected to remain for about two to three weeks before being transferred to another facility, most likely the federal prison in Lompoc.