Heroin dealer sent to prison after $60 sale

Cary Ashby • Aug 22, 2013 at 10:19 PM

An area man was sentenced to one year in prison Monday for selling heroin for $60.

Portsmouth resident Lance Signs, 36, received a 10-month term for trafficking in heroin. Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway also imposed an additional two months for a post-release control violation.

Signs had about 176 days remaining on his post-release time for a local breaking-and-entering conviction.

Huron County Public Defender David Longo said Monday his client intends to file for early release with the hopes of being accepted into Teen Challenge. The Christian-based substance abuse treatment program is based in Youngstown. Conway said he would give the motion "some consideration" -- but no sooner than six months from the time Signs enters prison.

In mid-June 2012, the defendant was sentenced to 11 months in prison for a May 26, 2011 break-in at the office at Norwalk Waste Material. Signs served the term at the same time as a sentence for an Erie County drug conviction.

In late June, a Huron County grand jury issued a secret indictment against Signs on trafficking in heroin.

Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said a confidential informant spoke to Signs on March 19 and the defendant "produced" .07 grams of heroin for $60. The Norwalk Police Department coordinated the controlled drug buy.

"I think in this case (Signs) was feeding a habit," said Longo, who referred to his client as the "middle man" in the buy.

Leffler credited Signs with being intelligent, but said he's "chosen to go down this path over and over."

In addition to his prison term, the defendant must reimburse police $40 for the cost of drug testing. His driver's license also was suspended for six months.

After Monday's hearing, Signs told the Reflector he wanted to apologize to his family for the embarrassment he caused.

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