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Hagerstown man pleads guilty to drug charges

February 07, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

Charged twice in the same week with drug offenses, including selling cocaine concealed in a box of dog biscuits, a 22-year-old Hagerstown man entered two guilty pleas Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court and was sentenced to five years in state prison.

Jesse Lee Godwin, of 114 East Ave., pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute oxycodone stemming from a search of his home July 3, 2010, and distribution of cocaine for a purchase made by an informant six days later.

Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell sentenced Godwin to concurrent sentences of 12 years in prison, with seven years suspended.

On July 3, the Hagerstown Police Department conducted a search of the home Godwin shared with his mother, Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Veil said. In Godwin’s bedroom, police found two handguns and ammunition, a small bag of marijuana, 35 oxycodone and five hydrocodone pills, and more than $2,800 in cash, according to charging documents.

Other rooms of the house yielded what police described as a large bag of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, another $138 in cash, a guide to prescription medicines and ammunition, the charging documents said.

Hydrocodone and oxycodone are powerful painkillers.

In exchange for pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute oxycodone, charges of possession of hydrocodone, oxycodone and marijuana were dismissed, along with two firearms offenses, court records said.

Six days after the search, the Washington County Narcotics Task Force used a confidential informant to buy crack cocaine from Godwin at his home, according to the statement of probable cause in the case. The informant met Godwin on the back porch, where he handed the informant a box of dog biscuits, indicating the crack cocaine was inside, the statement said.

The informant took the cocaine out of the box, and task force agents moved in to make the arrest, the statement said. Agents found another $200 on Godwin, the statement said.

Charges of maintaining a common nuisance for the distribution of narcotics, possession of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia were dismissed in exchange for the guilty plea to distribution of cocaine, Veil said.

Defense attorney Bernard Semler II told McDowell that Godwin had been addicted since the age of about 13 and that his mother also had a substance-abuse problem. An injury sustained before his arrests last year resulted in additional medications being prescribed and “that caused him to spiral completely out of control,” Semler said.

McDowell ordered the forfeiture of $3,224 seized from Godwin in the two cases.

Godwin still faces handgun charges resulting from an arrest in January while he was out on bond, according to court records.

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