A Lehigh County man was sentenced on Thursday in Carbon County court to a state prison term for his part in a multiple-county burglary and drug dealing ring. He was one of several defendants in pending criminal cases to enter a guilty plea before President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II.
Victor Anthony Rodriguez, 45, of Allentown, was sentenced to serve 27 to 60 months in prison on a charge of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance-heroin.
Nanovic told Rodriguez he was given a big break by the district attorney's office by recommending the sentence run concurrent with one imposed in Lehigh County and also the dropping of other more serious charges. In April Rodriguez was sentenced by a Lehigh County judge to serve 24 to 60 months in a state prison on drug counts.
Rodriguez was among 12 persons arrested earlier this year as part of a ring that would burglarize homes and businesses, take items and sell them. They then used the money to buy drugs and sell the drugs on the streets of various counties including Carbon, Monroe, Lehigh, Northampton and Schuylkill.
Nanovic also noted that Rodriguez got a break with the dropping of more serious charges because of his prior convictions. Nanovic said Rodriguez had several prior drug dealing convictions.
Nanovic, who went along with the DA's recommendation and ran the Carbon term concurrent with the one in Lehigh, also ordered Rodriguez to get a drug and alcohol (D&A) evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, supply a DNA sample, was made eligible for an early release program conducted in the state system, which was also part of the plea bargain.
Other defendants who entered guilty pleas included:
Thomas M. Drum, 36, of Tamaqua, pleaded guilty to one count of driving under the influence (DUI) and three summary motor vehicle code violations- hit and run, careless driving and failure to give information at an accident scene.
He was arrested on June 6, 2009, along Patterson St., in Lansford, after being involved in an accident. He struck two parked vehicles and fled the scene. Given a test, the result was. 17BAC.
Nanovic deferred sentencing because there is a dispute over restitution due one of the victims. Assistant District Attorney Cynthia Ann Dyrda Hatton said a hearing would have to be held so the court could rule on restitution due, then sentence can be imposed.
Drum is facing a mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail.
Joseph P. Kennedy III, 28, of Bushkill, pleaded to one count of simple assault-mutual consent fight. He was charged by state police at Lehighton for an incident on July 6, 2009, in the 200 block of White Street in Weissport. He engaged in a fight with a Daniel M. Waldron.
Nanovic sentenced him to time served (10 days) to one year in jail and immediately paroled him. He was ordered to get a mental health evaluation and follow any recommendations for treatment.
Robert Mark Clemmer, 59, of Barnesville, pleaded to one count of DUI. He was arrested on June 7, 2009, along SR209 in Nesquehoning. Given a test, the result was .17BAC.
Nanovic placed him on probation for six months and ordered he pay a fine of $300 and get a D&A evaluation.
John T. Romanelli, 46, of Hazleton, pleaded to one count of maximum speed limits, a summary offense. He was arrested on Dec. 30, 2009, along North St., Jim Thorpe. The DA's office dropped two counts of DUI. Hatton said the DUI counts were dropped because of lack of sufficient evidence to get a conviction.
Nanovic imposed a fine of $77 plus costs.
Each defendant sentenced must also pay court costs and a $50 per month supervision feel while on probation or parole.