Defendant sentenced to 21 years for drugs, identity theft

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PHOENIX - The following is a press release from the County Attorney's Office:

County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced today that Phoenix resident Christopher McKay Cantrell, 33 (DOB 10/11/75), has been sentenced to a total of 21 years in prison on charges that include aggravated identity theft and possession of dangerous drugs for sale.

The court also ordered that Cantrell pay restitution for charges made on multiple stolen credit cards that he possessed. One victim was found to have had over $48,000.00 charged to her bank account by the defendant. Judge Warren Granville issued the sentences on October 29, 2008.

Cantrell was arrested on July 8, 2008 by Phoenix Police officers after he attempted to purchase two computers at a Phoenix Best Buy store using a fraudulent driver's license and forged credit card to make the $1500.00 purchase. According to a Phoenix Police probable cause statement, after store employees recognized the driver's license as fraudulent, they notified the police.

When police approached the defendant, he attempted to flee on foot. He was taken into custody in the parking lot of the Best Buy at 2727 W. Thunderbird Road. Cantrell was found to be in possession of three different identification cards, representing three different victims.

He was also in possession of a clear plastic bag containing methamphetamine. After determining his correct identity, police discovered that the defendant had several outstanding warrants.

"Identity theft and fraud are serious crimes that cost individual victims and businesses thousands and thousands of dollars," said Thomas. "As a result, we will continue to seek serious punishment for those who commit these crimes."

The defendant pled guilty on September 30, 2008 to Aggravated Taking Identity of Another, a class three felony with one prior felony conviction, and Possession of Dangerous Drugs, a class four felony with one prior felony conviction.