Woman gets one year in North East-area heroin case

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By CARL HAMIL­TON ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

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.


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