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INTAKE COURT JOEY DEL REAL

Joey Del Real appears in intake court in this photo from January. On Wednesday he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for running a major drug-dealing operation.

Before sentencing Joey Del Real, Judge Mary K. Wagner told the Pleasant Prairie man he had wasted his talents.

“It is just such a tragedy,” Wagner said. “You would have been a highly successful businessman if you changed your product.”

On Wednesday, Wagner sentenced Del Real, 27, to 20 years in prison for charges of possession with intent to deliver methamphetamines and THC, along with a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

About a dozen members of Del Real’s family were in the courtroom to offer support at the hearing. When Wagner announced the 20-year sentence, one woman in the family began crying and rushed from the courtroom. Throughout the rest of the hearing, loud sobs could be heard from the hallway.

Del Real was arrested in January after he turned up at a local emergency room with a stab wound in his back. Hospital staff called police to report the stabbing, but at the hospital Del Real insisted he fell on the knife after his girlfriend pushed him.

Because the couple’s stories did not match, Pleasant Prairie Police got a search warrant for Del Real’s home, 8631 Old Green Bay Road.

As they awaited the warrant, police found that Del Real had left the hospital in his hospital gown and scrubs, trying to get back into the house before police could get inside. When investigators did get inside, they found evidence of a large-scale drug operation.

According to statements in court, they found 446 grams of methamphetamine, nearly 29 pounds of marijuana, 20 grams of cocaine and a backpack containing $78,000 in cash.

They also found 2,600 THC vape cartridges, and boxes containing “thousands of empty packages and cartons for THC vape vials” along with four cellphones, two rolls of prescription labels and a money-counting machine.

At the time of his arrest, Del Real had been under investigation by federal drug agents, Assistant District Attorney Carli McNeill said.

Del Real had been convicted in 2014 of felony possession of THC with intent to deliver, and had received probation in that case. His past conviction factored into the length of his sentence.

Learning a lesson

Before Wagner handed down the sentence, Del Real told her he has tried to refocus his life since his arrest, reading books and studying, and saying he hopes to take any classes available to him in prison.

“I’m learning to realize that not all money is good money, and there are more important things than making a quick buck,” Del Real said.

Wagner noted that Del Real attended a highly rated Catholic high school in Milwaukee, where he was a good student taking Advanced Placement classes.

“I wish you had made use of the excellent education you had,” she said.

Del Real’s girlfriend Sydney Bebo, 24, who along with her young child shared the Pleasant Prairie house, was also charged in the case.

She pleaded guilty to maintaining a drug-trafficking place, neglecting a child and being a party to a crime of a felon being in possession of a firearm.

She was sentenced Monday to two years in prison followed by three years of probation.

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