President Barack Obama meets with advisors in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Aug. 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama meets with advisors in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Aug. 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Three Southern California convicts sent to prison for drug-related offenses were among 111 federal prisoners granted commutations Tuesday by President Barack Obama, who has now surpassed the last 10 presidents combined for the number of commutations.

Obama has pointed to outdated, overly harsh sentencing guidelines used to send drug offenders to prison for lengthy terms as a reason for reducing the sentences. According to the White House, Obama has now granted 673 commutations during his administration.

According to the White House, the local offenders granted commutations were:

— Barry Renfold Cooley of Los Angeles, who was convicted in Nebraska of conspiracy to distribute narcotics and sentenced to life in prison. Obama commuted his sentence to expire on Aug. 30, 2018, conditioned on his enrollment in a residential drug treatment program.

— Orfil Javier Garza of Pacoima, who was convicted in Utah of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and carrying a firearm during a drug-trafficking offense. He was sentenced in 2010 to 15 years in prison, but his sentence will now expire on Dec. 28.

— Richard Van Winrow of Los Angeles, who was convicted in Los Angeles of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced in 1989 to life in prison, but Obama’s commutation will end his prison term on Aug. 30, 2017.

–City News Service 

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