An Arizona court sentenced former concert promoter Gary Tovar to seven years in prison for his role in a drug distribution case.

Tovar, founder of concert promoter GoldenVoice, has been held in custody without bail since his arrest March 9, 1991.

He was convicted on four federal narcotics charges as the leader of a marijuana distribution ring that attempted to purchase 356 pounds of the drug in Arizona for resale.

GoldenVoice, a leading promoter of alternative music acts, staged some of the first local concerts by such current headliners as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana.

Tovar originally was scheduled to be sentenced July 6, but that was delayed while defense attorneys collected favorable information on Tovar’s background to present to pre-sentencing investigators (Daily Variety, July 8).

The sentence was handed down Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Paul G. Rosenblatt. Tovar faced a maximum of life in prison.

Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 150 months, but Rosenblatt, using his discretion as permitted under federal sentencing guidelines, opted for a lesser sentence.

The former promoter spoke to the court prior to the imposition of sentence. He said he was sorry for his actions and was aware that he would have to spend some time in prison. Tovar’s attorneys had expected at least five to 10 years.

Tovar pleaded guilty in November to two counts of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, one count of attempted possession with intent to distribute, and one count of operating a continuing criminal enterprise.

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