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November 22, 2016

Two local men among 79 convicts granted commutations by Obama

Two convicted drug dealers from the Philadelphia region had their sentences commuted by President Barack Obama, the White House announced Tuesday.

Tyris Ford, of Philly, and Jose Rodriguez, of Camden, were among 79 individuals granted commutations for drug offenses. Most of the sentences were for low-level drug crimes.

"It makes no sense for a nonviolent drug offender to be serving decades, or sometimes life, in prison," Obama said. "That’s not serving taxpayers, and it’s not serving the public safety. Instead, it burdens our already overcrowded prisons."

Ford was sentenced in January 2001 to 25 years in prison with an additional 10 years of supervised release. He was convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, distribution of cocaine base, possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

His prison sentence will now expire on March 22.

On April 27, 2006, Rodriguez was sentenced to 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a $10,000 fine. His sentence was later amended on Aug. 28, 2015 to 19 years and seven months in prison. Rodriguez was convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin and more than 50 grams of cocaine base.

Rodriguez's prison sentence will also expire on March 22 and his unpaid fine has been remitted.

Obama has granted 1,023 commutations during his time in office. That number is more than the previous 11 presidents combined.