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Carbon woman gets state prison term for drug dealing, DUI counts

Published July 05. 2018 08:43AM

A Carbon County woman was sentenced to a state prison term last week after pleading guilty to drug dealing and multiple drunken driving charges.

Erica A. Kates, 30, of Lehighton, was sentenced by Judge Steven R. Serfass to serve a total of 24 to 74 months in a state correctional institution. Kates previously pleaded guilty to four counts of driving under the influence, two counts each of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia and one count each of possession of a controlled substance and forgery.

Kates, who has been in the county prison for an extended period on the charges, told the court she developed a drug addiction problem that took over her life.

“I had a great job. I had an accident, used painkillers that led to my addiction.”

She said he needs help and knows she can beat her addiction, adding, “I know I can do it.”

Serfass said the best place for her was in a state prison where there are many programs to help her with her addiction.

She was charged with DUI and possession with intent on May 6, 2017, by Mahoning Township police following a vehicle stop along Jamestown Street; she was arrested for the second possession with intent and DUI on Aug. 29, 2016, by Lehighton police along Bridge Street; she was arrested for the other DUIs on Dec. 3, 2015, along Route 443 in Lehighton by state police at Lehighton, and on Nov. 19, 2015, by state police along Bridge Street in Weissport. In all the DUI cases a test revealed the presence of a controlled substance.

The other drug arrests occurred on April 25, 2017, filed by Mahoning Township police for possession of paraphernalia when she was picked up on a warrant in the area of 365 Valley View Road; and the second paraphernalia on Jan. 6, 2017, by Lehighton police in the 100 block of Iron Street following a vehicle stop in which she was a passenger.

The forgery charge stems from a Feb. 2, 2015, incident filed by Lehighton police in which she attempted to alter a receipt involving a borough resident as the victim. She was previously placed in the county’s Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition probation program but was revoked due to being arrested on new criminal charges.

In addition to the jail term Serfass ordered Kates to pay a total of $9,000 in fines and license suspensions totaling seven years on the DUI charges. She was also ordered to get a mental health evaluation, pay court costs of about $1,000 and supply a DNA sample.

She was given credit for a total of 264 days spent in prison to date on the charges.

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