A former civilian employee of a U.S. Army base in Lassen County was sentenced Wednesday in Sacramento federal court to 16 months in prison for his part in thefts of military equipment.
Devon Gregory Biggs Jr. pleaded guilty in November and admitted a role in stealing machine gun components, night vision goggles, laser illumination technology and low-light video recording equipment from the Sierra Army Depot.
Biggs, 38, formerly of Reno, was also ordered by the court to pay restitution to the government of $200,000.
Just before the Biggs case was called Wednesday in U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller’s courtroom, a second defendant, Tony Herrin, pleaded guilty to theft of government property. Herrin admitted a role in stealing 10 Taser devices, three Vectronix systems used to detect targets, six military-grade flashlights and 25 thermal imaging sights. The value of the equipment is approximately $411,300.
Herrin, 36, of Reno, is scheduled to be sentenced May 27.
Biggs and Herrin worked at the Sierra Army Depot in Herlong, southeast of Susanville, where they cataloged and inventoried military equipment coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christiaan Highsmith told Mueller at the sentencing hearing that Biggs participated in the thefts to feed his methamphetamine addiction.
Biggs is afflicted with “a serious and persistent addiction and mental health issues going back to when he was quite young,” said Mueller, citing a probation officer’s report. She recommended that the U. S. Bureau of Prisons find a place for Biggs in treatment programs to address both problems.
Assistant Federal Defender Benjamin Galloway told Mueller that his client’s criminal activity occurred at “a particularly low point in his life.”
Addressing the judge on Wednesday, Biggs said, “It was truly a blessing from God” that FBI agents and Army and Navy investigators caught up with him. “My life has turned around 180 degrees.”
He was arrested on April 3, 2013, and released two days later under court supervision on a $50,000 unsecured appearance bond co-signed by Biggs and an uncle.
Ten weeks later, he moved to Arizona from California without notifying the court officer charged with keeping track of him. He admitted to using methamphetamine two days before the move. His release was revoked, and he was sent back to jail.
Prosecutors and Galloway agreed to give Biggs another chance and, less than a month after going back to jail, Mueller ordered him released.
In October, he submitted two urine samples that tested positive for methamphetamine and failed to report for testing on two other dates. He was locked up again on Nov. 21, nine days after pleading guilty. This time there was no reprieve.
Since his April 2013 arrest, Biggs has spent a total of four months in jail, which will count toward his 16-month sentence. In addition, he could shave as much as 54 days off his sentence, depending on his behavior in prison.
Call The Bee’s Denny Walsh, (916) 321-1189.