An Albrightsville man was sentenced to a county prison term on Thursday in a case which was called a "drug deal gone bad." He was one of several defendants in pending drug-related cases to enter a plea.
Although Ronald A.Ventura, 23, pleaded to one count of criminal conspiracy-criminal trespass, not drug charges, the incident involved illegal drugs according to police reports and testimony given at the court proceeding.
Police said Ventura and another man went to a residence in Franklin Township to allegedly purchase drugs. The two broke into the home and confronted the homeowner and demanded money and drugs. The man only had $20 on him, the police report stated.
However, President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II noted that the underlying reason for the two to be at the residence was to purchase heroin. Ventura admitted that but said his co-defendant, identified as John Carroll, decided to rob the victim rather than pay for drugs. The police report identified the victim as Daniel Schaub. It was noted that Schaub is not facing any criminal charges in the incident and is listed as the victim.
Nanovic also said he didn't believed Ventura's claim that he only smoked marijuana and was not there to get any heroin. Nanovic also noted prior convictions against Ventura.
Nanovic sentenced him to serve six to one day less 24 months in prison followed by one year probation. He was also ordered to get a drug and alcohol (D&A) evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, zero tolerance imposed on drug or alcohol use and supply a DNA sample and pay the $250 fee.
A Jim Thorpe couple entered guilty pleas to drug counts filed after agents of the state Attorney General's office served a search warrant on a residence and found 23 marijuana plants growing in the back yard.
Mandy Lynn Kane, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a controlled substance while Mark Albert Yeakel, 38, pleaded to one count of possession with intent to manufacture a controlled substance.
The two were arrested on June 19 when AG agents served a search warrant at 506 South St. In addition to the plants agents also found a scale, baggies used to package drugs and over $1,300 in U.S. currency.
Kane claimed she only knew about one marijuana plant being grown in the cellar of the residence and further claimed she told Yeakel to get rid of it.
Yeakel claimed he was growing the marijuana for personal use and not for sale.
Nanovic was skeptical of the stories saying AG agents must have been alerted to the large number of plants being grown and whoever alerted the AG's office must have known about the drugs. Yeakel then admitted that he would have friends over at times to smoke marijuana.
Nanovic added that he didn't believe that the marijuana was grown solely for personal use.
Nanovic sentenced Yeakel to serve six to one day less 24 months in prison and ordered he get a D&A evaluation, zero tolerance on D&A use, supply a DNA sample and pay the $250 and was granted work release privileges. He will begin the jail term on Oct. 1 at noon.
Kane was placed on probation for a year and ordered to get a D&A evaluation, zero tolerance on D&A use and pay a fine of $750.
Other defendants who pleaded in drug related cases included:
David Justin Taylor, 24, of Whitehall, pleaded to one count each of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was arrested on May 22, 2008, by agents of the AG office at the Mahoning Inn, Room 20. Found in the room was marijuana and other drug paraphernalia. There were two other individuals in the room and charges are pending against them.
Nanovic sentenced Taylor to time served (69 days) to nine months in jail on the possession of a CS count and one year probation on the paraphernalia charge with the terms running consecutively. He was also ordered to get a D&A evaluation and zero tolerance on D&A use.
Shane Roger Rex, 20, of Lehighton, pleaded to one count each of possession of a controlled substance and underage drinking. He was arrested by agents of the Fish and Boat Commission along the Lehigh River in Lehighton on May 3, 2008. The agents went to the area because Rex had an illegal fire going. The agents found Rex had vicodin in his possession without a prescription and was drinking alcohol.
Nanovic sentenced him to time served (44 days) to one year in jail on the possession count and imposed a fine of $300 on the drinking charge. He was also ordered to get a D&A evaluation, zero tolerance on D&A use and a 90-day license suspension on the drinking charge.
Christopher Leedom, 21, of Catasauqua, pleaded to one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. He was arrested on March 6, 2008, by Palmerton police for an incident in the area of 584 Delaware Ave. He had a glass pipe with drug residue in his possession.
He was placed on probation for a year and ordered to get a D&A evaluation.
All defendants were also ordered to pay court costs and a $50 per month supervision fee.