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Grandmother sentenced to prison for conspiracy to distribute cocaine

July 12, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

A grandmother with no previous criminal record pleaded guilty Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and was sentenced to two years in state prison.

"You don't have a lot of experience as a drug dealer, and you're not very good at it," Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. said as he sentenced Jocelyn L. Bryant, 54, to six years in prison with four years suspended.

Bryant, formerly of 659 Pennsylvania Ave., Hagerstown, said she came here from New Jersey to be with her daughter and grandchildren, but found herself homeless and needing money.

"She did a desperate thing, your honor," said her attorney, Ross Hecht.

The case dated from a 2009 incident which was later placed on the inactive docket, but Bryant was unable to fulfill her part of an agreement to help the Washington County Narcotics Task Force arrest other drug dealers, Hecht said.

"Unfortunately, she was not a very good drug purchaser," Hecht told Long.

On Dec. 11, 2009, a task force informant arranged to purchase $150 worth of crack cocaine in downtown Hagerstown, according to the statement of facts read in court by Assistant State's Attorney Viki Pauler.

The informant made the arrangement through another person. Bryant drove up in another vehicle, got in the informant's car and handed over the cocaine, Pauler said.

Bryant was seen throwing the $150 out of the car as task force agents approached to arrest her, Pauler said.

Bryant, who later returned to New Jersey, was given 62 days credit for time served since she was taken into custody and returned to Maryland.

Charges of distribution of cocaine, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia were dismissed as part of the plea agreement, Pauler said.

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