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Four people plead guilty in unrelated heroin distribution cases

Four cases resulted from heroin sales to Washington County Narcotics Task Force informants

August 15, 2013|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

Four people entered guilty pleas Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court in unrelated heroin distribution cases, with three going to state prison and the fourth having her sentence delayed due to pregnancy.

The four cases, involving two men and two women, resulted from heroin sales to Washington County Narcotics Task Force informants, but Assistant State’s Attorney Viki Pauler said there was no common thread.

However, Pauler said there has been an increase in recent months in heroin cases “because the pill market has tightened.”

Abuse of prescription painkillers has abated somewhat because medical professionals are doing a better job of restricting access to those drugs, Pauler said.

“It looks like people are switching specifically to heroin” from painkillers, she said.

The longest sentence was 20 years with all but nine years suspended, which Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. imposed on Theodore Alvin Bean, 39, of Fairview Drive, Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

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Bean pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of heroin.

Bean sold five packets of heroin to an informant in Hancock on Nov. 5, 2012, Pauler told Long. At the time, Bean was out on bond on a drug charge in West Virginia, she said.

“It should come as no surprise to the court that my client was dealing with a serious heroin addiction at the time,” Bean’s lawyer, Dino Flores, told Long.

Long made Bean’s Maryland sentence concurrent with the sentence he is now serving in West Virginia.

In a separate case, Long sentenced Christopher Owens McMullen, 32, of Main Avenue, Hagerstown, to 15 years in prison, with all but eight years suspended, after McMullen pleaded guilty to distribution of heroin and resisting arrest.

On April 17, McMullen sold $200 worth of heroin to an informant at Elgin Park in Hagerstown, Pauler told Long.

Six days later, McMullen went to the park again to sell heroin to the same informant, she said.

When approached by task force agents, McMullen struggled as they tried to handcuff him and was subdued with an electronic shock device, Pauler said.

Agents then pepper-sprayed McMullen to get him to spit out two packets of heroin he was attempting to swallow, she said.

McMullen’s criminal record includes a 1998 robbery conviction in New York and a drug distribution conviction in Maryland in 2005, Pauler said.

“I do suffer from a drug addiction,” McMullen told Long. “My intention was not to be a drug dealer, but to support my habit.”

Long also sentenced Shakena Lynn Harvey, 29, of Fairgrounds Avenue, Hagerstown, to six years in prison with three years suspended after she entered a guilty plea to distribution of heroin.

Harvey sold heroin to an informant at a convenience store on Potomac Avenue on March 8, Pauler told Long. She asked the informant to give her a portion of the heroin, Pauler said.

“This case has bothered me from its inception,” her attorney, Ira C. Cooke, told Long. “She’s not a drug kingpin .... She’s not even a minor player. What she was trying to do was to get enough heroin to get her through another day.”

Cooke asked Long to place Harvey at Cameo House, a long-term treatment facility.

“I’m not terribly opposed to sending you to Cameo House, but it won’t be today,” Long said.

In the fourth case, Assistant State’s Attorney Elizabeth Carranza told Long that prosecutors were seeking a five-year sentence for Elizabeth Mae Clark, 27, of Cook Street, Hagerstown. Clark pleaded guilty to distribution of heroin and contributing to the condition of a child.

On Nov. 12, 2012, Clark sold heroin and cocaine to an informant who came to her home, Carranza told Long. Clark drove from her house to pick up the drugs, she said.

A week later, the informant came back, asking for cocaine and Ecstasy, Carranza said. Clark again drove from her home to get the drugs from a supplier, but this time took one of her children with her, Carranza said.

Assistant Public Defender Loren Villa asked Long to delay sentencing for 90 days because Clark is pregnant and on methadone. Villa said Clark needed to be weaned off methadone before giving birth early next year.

Long delayed sentencing for 60 days.

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