Two get state prison terms after entering guilty pleas
Two defendants in pending criminal cases were sentenced to state prison terms on Monday after entering guilty pleas.
The two were among several defendants to enter pleas before Carbon County President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II.
James Lawrence Dennis, 26, of Nesquehoning, pleaded guilty to one count of criminal attempt-contraband into a prison, and was sentenced to a total of 18 months to four years in a state prison.
Dennis admitted his part in smuggling drugs into the county prison using postage stamps.
He was one of 11 persons arrested earlier this year by agents of the state Attorney General's office for their part in what was called, "Operation Postage Stamp."
The 11, including five inmates, were charged with smuggling the drug Suboxone into the jail using the inmates' mail. The drug is used to treat heroin addiction and is commonly produced in pill form. It is now manufactured in thin, filmlike strips, very similar to the popular breath freshening strips. The strips were placed under the stamps of letters sent to inmates at the jail, authorities said.
Dennis was an inmate at the jail at the time of his arrest and was charged with participating in the operation.
Dennis is no stranger to the criminal justice system as he had many prior convictions, it was noted by Nanovic.
At the time of his arrest on the drug counts, he was serving a probation violation sentence and also violated probation in Lehigh County.
In addition to the jail term Nanovic ordered he get a drug and alcohol (D&A) evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment and supply a DNA sample and pay the $250 fee.
Nanovic gave him credit for 232 days spent in prison on the charge. Nanovic also ruled the sentence runs consecutive to the sentence he is currently serving on a probation violation.
Christopher Paul Farley, 38, of West Hazleton, pleaded guilty in three pending cases, involving vehicle thefts, and was sentenced to serve a total of 27 to 54 months in a state prison.
Farley pleaded to three counts of theft and one of escape.
He admitted his part in the theft of a Chevrolet Blazer from the lot of the 443 Auto Sales in Mahoning Township on March 1; the theft of a Dodge Ram truck from Jim Thorpe, on March 2; and the theft of a Honda Civic, also in Jim Thorpe, on March 2.
Farley and his co-defendant, Melissa Pankevitch, were arrested when the two drove to the office of District Judge Edward Lewis, of Jim Thorpe, in one of the stolen vehicles. They were taken into custody at the DJ office by Jim Thorpe police and taken to the borough police station for questioning. At the station, while placed in a holding area, Farley fled and stole the one of the vehicles. He was later picked up by Hazleton police and returned to Carbon.
Nanovic noted Farley has an extensive prior criminal record.
In addition to the jail term Nanovic ordered Farley to get a D&A evaluation, supply a DNA sample and pay the $250 fee, and make restitution to 443 Auto Sales for damages to the Blazer in a total amount of $1,045.18.
He was given total credit of 249 days in jail on the charges.
Pankevitch previously pleaded for her part in the incident and another case and was sentenced to a county prison term.
Other defendants who entered guilty pleas included:
Tony Kimhong, 20, of Philadelphia, pleaded to one count of aggravated assault. He was charged by state police at Lehighton for assaulting a staff member at Camp Adams, a Youth Services facility in Penn Forest Township, where he was a client. The incident occurred on Dec. 29, 2010. Kimhong was in the facility via a placement by the Philadelphia County court.
Nanovic sentenced him to serve one to two years in the county prison with credit for 313 days. He was also ordered to get a D&A evaluation and supply a DNA sample and pay the $250 fee.
Portia Green, 49, of Aquashicola, pleaded to one count each of forgery, possession of a controlled substance-Percocet, identity theft, theft and receiving stolen property.
She was arrested by Lehighton police for an incident at the First National Pharmacy on Jan. 29. She admitted picking up a prescription for the drug that was not hers, and signed the name of the person the prescription of made out to, identified as Amy Frohnheiser.
Nanovic placed her on probation for two years on each count, all running concurrently. She was also ordered to get a D&A evaluation, zero tolerance imposed on D&A use, and have no contact with the victim.
Joseph Plummer, 25, of Albrightsville, pleaded to one count of driving under the influence (DUI). He was arrested on Aug. 14 along SR903 in Penn Forest Township by state police at Fern Ridge. Given a test, the result was .16BAC.
Nanovic sentenced him to serve five days to six months in jail, a fine of $1,000, a one year license suspension, and get a D&A evaluation.
He began the jail term immediately.
Allen J. Berger, 48, of Lehighton, pleaded to one count of DUI. He was arrested on May 29 along First St., in Lehighton, by state police. Given a test, the result was .11BAC.
Nanovic sentenced him to serve five days to six months in jail, a fine of $1,000, one year license suspension, get a D&A evaluation, and render three hours of community service per month while on parole.
He begins the jail term at 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 14.
Giorgio Salvadore Castagna, 33, of Albrightsville, pleaded to one count of DUI, a first offense. He was arrested on May 29 along SR903 in Penn Forest Township by state police at Fern Ridge. Given a test, the result was .18BAC.
Nanovic placed him on probation for six months and ordered he pay a fine of $300 and get a D&A evaluation.
Two defendants who entered pleas had their sentences deferred and Nanovic ordered the adult probation office to prepare a presentence investigation (PSI) report.
Douglas J. Ahner, 48, of Jim Thorpe, pleaded to one count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance-marijuana, as a felony.
He was arrested on July 19 when state police served a search warrant on his residence after receiving a tip that he had marijuana plants growing on the property.
Police found eight plants growing in a camper on the property.
Tony Outlaw, 39, of Lehighton, pleaded to one count of endangering the welfare of a child. He was arrested on Feb. 2 by Lehighton police after were summoned to the Lehighton hospital for a report of child abuse.
Through an investigation police learned that Outlaw punched his five-year-old son in the back of his left leg fracturing the femur. He told police he did it because the child would not listen to his mother.
Each defendant sentenced must also pay court costs, which average about $1,000, plus a $50 per month supervision fee while on probation or parole.