Joshua Sanders is James Vega's father. After the death of his wife, Josh's relationship with his son becomes strained and he begins using red sand. Josh lives in a beach house in the city of Solana Beach, California.

In 2176, on the day that James enlists with the Systems Alliance Marines, Josh sends James to San Diego to pick up a package. When James returns home after evading police pursuit, Josh shows the package contained a supply of red sand and promptly takes some. When James announces he won't help Josh anymore and is leaving, Josh reveals he knew all about James's enlistment and threatens to tell the military about his actions in San Diego that night so that they won't accept him. James's uncle Emilio Vega later points out that Josh would never tell the military that he had made a drug deal, and James successfully joins the Alliance.

During the Reaper invasion of 2186, James arrives at the Citadel and seeks out news of his father and uncle, who are still on Earth. Citadel authorities are unable to contact them.

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