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Judge sentences former Hagerstown man to mandatory 40-years for distribution of cocaine

May 18, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

A jury took five minutes in March to find Edgar Sayles guilty of distribution of cocaine, a conviction that resulted in a 40-year mandatory sentence Friday in Washington County Circuit Court.

Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. sentenced Sayles, 41, to 40 years without parole, an enhanced mandatory sentence due to his previous drug-crime convictions.

The former Hagerstown resident had been charged by the Washington County Narcotics Task Force with selling crack cocaine to a confidential informant in April and May 2011, according to charging documents.

The task force equipped the informant with a miniature camera to shoot video of the transaction, court records said.

The notice of 40-year mandatory sentence filed by the prosecution listed 1994 convictions on three counts of sale of cocaine and three counts of sale and possession of cocaine in Lake County, Florida.

Sayles also had a 2006 conviction for distribution of cocaine in Washington County, the document said.

During his March 22 trial, Sayles objected to the racial composition of the jury pool, fired his attorney and represented himself. Sayles, who is black, objected to there being only two black people among the prospective jurors.

In handling his own defense, Sayles raised questions about the task force agents’ search of the informant and the informant’s vehicle for drugs before the controlled purchases, as well as the lack of fingerprint or DNA processing by police.

The jury convicted Sayles of two counts of distribution and criminal conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

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