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Another defendant in drug postage stamp incident pleads

Published July 05. 2012 05:01PM

Another defendant in the drug postage stamp incident at the county prison entered a guilty plea this week in Carbon County court and was immediately sentenced to a prison term.

He was one of several defendants in pending cases to appear before Senior Judge Richard W. Webb on Tuesday to enter a plea.

Stamp incident

Michael R. Kent, 26, of Nesquehoning, pleaded to one count of criminal attempt-contraband into a prison.

He was one of 11 defendants arrested last year for having an illegal substance sent to the prison via mail. When the arrests were announced District Attorney Gary F. Dobias, labeled the investigation "Operation Postage Stamp." He said it began in January 2011 when the prison warden, Joseph Gross, intercepted three letters containing a Suboxone underneath the letters' stamps.

Dobias said the drug Suboxone, which is used to treat heroin addiction, is commonly produced in pill form, but now is being manufactured in thin, film-like strips, very similar to the popular breath freshening strips. The intercepted letters were addressed to Kent, and fellow inmates Kermit Sponheimer and Chad Hartsell.

Webb sentenced Kent to serve one day less one year to one day less two years in the county prison on the charge. The sentence is consistent with sentences imposed on some of the other 11defendants who have pleaded guilty in the incident.

Other pleas

Other defendants who entered pleas included:

Hillary Leh, 26, of Lehighton, pleaded to one count of simple assault. She was arrested on Nov. 6, 2009, by Lehighton police for an incident at the Blue Mountain Health Systems-Gnaden Huetten Campus, hospital with Jacqueline DeMarco, a staff member, the listed victim.

Webb placed her on probation for a year and ordered her to continue with her current medical treatment and follow all directives of her attending physician.

Curtis Lee Margle, 21, of Lehighton, pleaded in two pending cases. He pleaded one count of criminal conspiracy-possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. He was arrested on Oct. 9, 2011, by Franklin Township police for an incident along SR209 at a traffic stop. He was found in possession of cocaine.

In the second case he pleaded to possession with intent for an incidents in August, 2011, in various locations in the county. The state Attorney General's office made the arrest.

Webb deferred sentencing and ordered the adult probation office to prepare a presentence investigation (PSI) report.

Daniel Jacob Snyder, 26, of Palmerton, entered pleas in three pending cases. He pleaded to one count each of theft and criminal mischief for an incident on July 12, 2011, in the area of 30 Penn Ave., Palmerton; to one count of criminal mischief, for an incident also on July 12 in the area of 777 Columbia Ave., Palmerton; and to terroristic threats for an incident on July 11 with Jamine Carago the listed victim.

Webb deferred sentencing and ordered a PSI.

Megan Yarnell, 25, of Lansford, pleaded in two pending cases.

She pleaded to one count of persistent disorderly conduct. She was arrested on June 3, 2010, by Lehighton police for an incident in the area of 157 S. First St. In the second case she pleaded to one count each of accidents involving damages to attended vehicle or property, accidents involving death of injury, and summary counts of drivers required to be licensed and driving on the right side of the road.

On the conduct charge she was placed on probation for a year. On the two accidents charges she was placed on probation for a year on each, concurrent to each other and the conduct charge, and ordered to render 30 hours of community service. She was given credit for 105 days spent in jail on the charges.

On the summary charges she was fined a total of $225 and costs.

Each defendant sentenced must also pay court costs, which average close to $1,000, and a $50 per month supervision fee while on probation or parole.

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