Woman gets one year in North East-area heroin case
ELKTON — A woman caught with nearly 3 ounces of heroin during a traffic stop near North East in October received a one-year jail term on Wednesday.
Cecil County Circuit Court Judge William W. Davis Jr. imposed a five-year sentence on the defendant, North East-area resident Luisa Morales, 38, and then suspended four years of it, mirroring a recommenda- tion made by Assistant State’s Attorney David Parrack.
A lso matching the prosecutor’s request, Davis ordered Morales to serve three years of supervised probation after completing her one-year term, which she will serve in the Cecil County Detention Center.
In addition, the judge ordered Morales to forfeit $50 that Cecil County Drug Task Force agents had seized from her at the time of her arrest.
State sentencing guidelines, which are based on a defendant’s criminal record and other factors, set a penalty range of one to three years of active incarceration for Morales. Her assistant public defender, John Buck, had recommended a sentence below those guidelines.
In May, Morales pleaded guilty to possession of heroin with intent to distribute, as part of a plea deal in which prosecutors dropped two related charges.
Members of the Maryland State Police Gang Enforcement Unit arrested Morales about 7:15 p.m. on Oct. 5, after stopping a Nissan Altima on Route 272, near the Interstate 95 southbound off ramp, police said. Morales was the front-seat passenger, police added.
The GEU members stopped the car because they recognized the driver and knew that he did not possess a driver’s license, police reported.
Because they noticed “criminal indicators,” investigators dispatched a K9 Unit officer and his specially trained scent dog, which alerted to the presence of illegal drugs while scanning the outside of the car, according to court records.
While Morales stood outside the car during the scan, GEU members noticed a “large bulge” in her jeans, prompting a patdown search in which they found more than 400 baggies of heroin wrapped in a gray rag inside her pants pocket, court records show. A female officer had been dispatched to conduct the pat-down search, police noted.
The heroin weighed 84 grams and had been parceled into 31 “bundles,” with each holding 13 baggies of heroin, police reported.