Heroin dealers sent to prison for separate drug buys

Cary Ashby • Jun 28, 2013 at 5:07 PM

Two area men each were sentenced Thursday to 11 months in prison for separate charges of trafficking in heroin.

Kurt R. Miller, 29, of Norwalk, pleaded guilty in early May for a March 1, 2012 controlled drug buy coordinated by the Norwalk Police Department. He must pay $40 in restitution to cover the cost of drug testing.

Shiloh resident Roger C. James, 24, was convicted of a Feb. 21 controlled drug buy coordinated by the Huron County Sheriff's Office. In a mid-May plea deal, the state agreed to dismiss a second trafficking in heroin charge in connection with a Feb. 22 incident.

Both defendants had their driver's licenses suspended for six months. James must pay $80 in restitution to cover the cost of drug testing.

Regarding Miller, Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff said the defendant "didn't do well at all" on probation for an earlier felony conviction and has gone to prison, where there were multiple violations. Woodruff said also said that according to his presentence interview, Miller, who has a lengthy misdemeanor record, was dishonest with probation officers.

Huron County Public Defender David Longo called the drug deal a "low-volume case" and recommended a lesser sentence. He also said the only thing the state offered in Miller's May 8 plea deal was agreeing not to pursue an indictment on failing to appear for a pre-trial hearing in early May; Longo added that Miller showed up the next day.

"I don't believe you have any real remorse for your activities," Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway told Miller.

James, in 2007, was convicted of burglary and theft. Woodruff said the defendant went to a community-based corrections facility (CBCF) for a subsequent probation violation. A CBCF is a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education.

"That didn't work out too well," Woodruff said.

James also had a probation violation in 2009, which resulted in the court revoking his community control sanctions.

Longo said his client had been doing well on probation until his son died.

"He's been going to church. He's been going to AA," Longo said about what James has done in the Huron County Jail for the last four months.

James credited "Pastor Rick" for helping him "rebuild" his faith, but admitted he didn't handle his son's death well.

"I just walked in and he was gone," the defendant said.

While Conway said he sympathizes about his son's passing, the judge said "trafficking (in heroin) can't be tolerated."

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