Rockwall jury sends drug dealer to prison for 99 years

ROCKWALL – After deliberating for less than one hour April 20, a Rockwall County jury sentenced a Hidalgo County man to ninety-nine years in prison and maximum fine of $250,000 on the charge of Possession with Intent to Deliver Cocaine over 400 grams.

Mario Alberto Salazar, 37, received the maximum sentence, according to Rockwall County Criminal District Attorney Kenda Culpepper.

In punishment, lead prosecutor, Damita Sangermano, introduced 18 judgments of conviction against Salazar, telling the jury during closing arguments that Salazar had been a criminal his entire adult life.

Sangermano said jurors heard testimony that Rockwall Police Department Officer Josh Ellis detained Salazar on a traffic stop on I-30 and later found half a kilo of cocaine hidden in his trunk.

After sentencing, jurors thanked Officer Ellis for his service.

“Rockwall County officers have a solid reputation for their professionalism and training,” said Sangermano.  “They should be commended for the excellent job they did in this case.”

“By their verdict, it is clear that Rockwall County citizens have very little sympathy for those who deal poison in our community,” said Kenda Culpepper, Rockwall County Criminal District Attorney.  “We are pleased that one more drug dealer will be behind bars for a long time.”

By J.J. Smith, Publisher

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