Dowagiac man gets prison time on drug, weapon charges

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, June 13, 2023

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NILES — A Dowagiac man already in prison on drug and weapon charges was sentenced to another prison term Monday in Berrien County Trial Court. 

Ricardo Cruz, 40, of Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to possession of meth and carrying a concealed weapon in an auto and was sentenced to 18 months to 10 years in prison on the meth charge and 18 months to five years in prison on the weapon charge. He must pay $256 in fines and costs and forfeit his weapon. 

He also pleaded guilty to two contempt charges and was given credit for time served, 12 and 13 days respectively. 

The incident occurred July 9, 2021 in Niles Township. 

Cruz is currently serving prison terms for possession of meth, possession of ammunition by a felon and third-degree fleeing police from January, 2022 incidents in Van Buren County. 

His past record includes prison terms from Berrien County offenses in 2005 and 2008. 

“Obviously you are already serving a sentence for similar behavior,” Berrien County Trial Judge Jennifer Smith said. “Having a weapon is obviously a danger to the community. You have a significant criminal history.”