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W.Va. man is sentenced on cocaine distribution charge

November 03, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

A former counselor and basketball coach was ordered Thursday by a Washington County Circuit judge to serve eight years in prison for selling cocaine to a police informant in January.

Mark Anthony Scott, 42, of 1842 Rockcliff Drive in Martinsburg, W.Va., pleaded guilty in August to cocaine distribution for selling a police informant $200 worth of cocaine Jan. 18.

Circuit Judge John H. McDowell ordered Scott to serve eight years in prison on the charge. He suspended five years of a 13-year sentence, and ordered Scott to serve three years of supervised probation upon his release.

McDowell told Scott, "You violated and breached the trust of children." He told him that $200 worth of cocaine "is not a small amount in this community."

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Scott apologized to his family, and told McDowell that he "never took the drugs around the kids" he coached or watched.

Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Brett Wilson said Scott was a counselor at the Maryland Sheriffs' Youth Ranch in Frederick, Md., for five years, and was an Amateur Athletic Union youth basketball coach.

"The state sees a lot of drug dealers throughout Hagerstown, but I can't remember a case with a person holding these types of positions in the county," said Wilson, who suggested a 10-year sentence.

He said when police searched Scott's house in West Virginia, they found a half-ounce of cocaine and $4,200 in cash.

Scott's teenage son asked McDowell through tears not to send his father to prison.

"I had no clue my dad was doing this," he said. " ... I need this man in my life ... I need this man to get to college."

Scott's attorney, Stephen H. Sacks, told McDowell that Scott was a lifelong Hagerstown resident with no criminal record before this case.

Scott told McDowell that he began using cocaine after he discovered prescription painkillers didn't help his back pain.

He told McDowell that he was "relieved" when police searched his house. Scott admitted that he had a bag of cocaine and "a dollar rolled up" in his sock that he handed over to police.

"If you ever gave a man a second chance, I wish it would be me," he said.

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