Hamblen man sentenced to 140 months in prison

The 13-year criminal career of Hamblen County crystal-meth dealer Luis Daniel “Donnie” Martinez Patino passed a milestone Monday afternoon when he was sentenced to 140 months in federal prison, according to court documents.

Patino, a 27-year-old man who has already spent more than a year in federal custody, pleaded guilty earlier to conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine in a case initiated by Hamblen County Sheriff’s Department narcotics investigators.

U.S. District Judge Ronnie Greer recommended that Patino serve his time in a federal lockup in Florida, provided the prison is not in Miami. Greer gave Patino the opportunity to speak Monday afternoon, but the Morristown man declined.

Patino avoided a sentencing enhancement for being a conspiracy leader, even though he admitted he was off-loading 16 to 24 ounces every 32 hours, and he had “several people selling for him,” according to his plea agreement. Patino was the No. 2 defendant in a seven-defendant conspiracy headed by James Alan Ward, who has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

When Ward decided to cooperate with law enforcement, he identified Patino as one of his largest customers, but added that Patino’s value as a dealer diminished as his addiction to methamphetamine worsened, according to Ward’s plea agreement.

Patino’s adult criminal history includes felony convictions for reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, possession of marijuana, aggravated burglary, along with five convictions for simple possession of drugs and another for DUI, Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Swecker documented in the prosecution sentencing memorandum.

He received no criminal-history points – a major determinate of federal prison terms – for the firearm and marijuana offenses because he was 17 years old when he committed the crimes. His other juvenile offenses include aggravated burglary and attempted aggravated robbery, according to the federal prosecutor.