Two persons who were part of a drug dealing ring operating in the area, were sentenced Tuesday in Carbon County court. One got jail time and the other a break and probation.
Jason Michael Seekins, 34, and Melissa Ann Oriel, 36, were sentenced by Senior Judge Richard W. Webb on drug charges after entering guilty pleas last March.
Seekins was sentenced to serve nine to 23 months in prison while Oriel got a break from the court and was placed on probation for 48 months.
Seekins, of Coaldale, and Oriel, his former girlfriend now listing a Lansford address, were arrested as part of a drug trafficking operation in the county.
Agents of the state Attorney General's office conducted an undercover operation which also included Lehigh Coutny of a cocaine trafficking operation. In February AG agents along with state police and local police rounded up nine persons and charged them as part of the ring.
Seekins pleaded to one count of corrupt organizations and Oriel to one count of cirminal use of a communication facility.
Atty. Stephen Vlossak told the court Seekins had a very serious drug addiction when he was arrested. He said he was dealing drugs so he could buy more drugs to feed his own habit.
"He reached rock bottom," Vlossak said. But he added, "It's a tragic story that's heading towards a good ending."
Vlossak said that Seekins has turned his life around and has gone through counseling and is currently drug free. Seekins said, "I have turned the corner."
Oriel told the court she has also been drug free for a long time and admitted to a "slip" when she was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).
Atty. David J. Rice said Oriel has worked hard to beat her habit and is now working as a health care provider and is trusted by her employer to administer drugs to patients at the facility where she works. He said jail time would not serve any meaningful purpose for her.
District Attorney Gary F. Dobias said the presentence investigation report prepared by the adult probation office was extremely accurate. He said she did not immediately take her drug addiction seriously and has pending charges, the DUI count.
Webb said he agreed with Rice that a jail term at this point would hurt her efforts to beat her habit. But he added that the long probation period would keep her under the supervision of the probation office. He added, one slip up would mean she'd be back facing serving the 48 months in a state prison.
In additon to the jail time, Seekins was ordered to supply a DNA sample and pay the costs, get both drug and alcohol and mental health evaluations and follow all recommendations for treatment, zero tolerance imposed on D&A use, and have no contact with any of the co-defendants in the case.
Seekins, who began the jail term immediately, was given credit for 14 days spent in jail on the charges and was also granted work release privileges.
Oriel was ordered to supply a DNA sample and pay the costs, get both D&A and mental health evaluations, zero tolerance on D&A use and have no contact with any of the co-defendants in the case.
Both must also pay court costs and a $50 per month supervision fee while on probation or parole.