Man ad­mits to role in drug WUDIILFNLQJ RUJDQL]DWLRQ

North Penn Life - - News - By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@jour­nalregis­

An rp­per Gwynedd man has ad­mit­ted to his role in a metham­phetamine traf­fiFNLQJ RUJDQL]DWLRQ WhDW al­legedly op­er­ated in Mont­gomery and Philadel­phia coun­ties.

Francesco “Frank” Messina, 43, of the 600 block RI GDU­fiHOG AvHQuH, SOHDGHG guilty in Mont­gomery County Court Mon­day to charges RI FRUUuSW RUJDQL]DWLRQV, pos­ses­sion with in­tent to de­liver metham­phetamine and con­spir­acy in con­nec­tion with in­ci­dents that oc­curred be­tween De­cem­ber 2011 and March 2012.

6SHFL­fiFDOOy, 0HVVLQD DGmit­ted to di­rectly de­liv­er­ing more than two grams of meth to an un­der­cover de­tec­tive on two oc­ca­sions — for which he po­ten­tially faces two one-year manda­tory sen­tences — and to be­ing in­volved in the de­liv­ery, con­ducted by some of his al­leged co-de­fen­dants, of anRWhHU fivH JUDPV RI WhH GUuJ — for which he po­ten­tially faces a three-year manda­tory sen­tence.

Judge Thomas G. Gavin, a vis­it­ing se­nior judge from Ch­ester County, de­ferred sen­tenc­ing so that court of­fiFLDOV FDQ FRPSOHWH D EDFN­ground in­ves­tiga­tive report about Messina, who at the time of his ar­rest resided in the T00 block of Sch­wab 5RDG LQ HDW­fiHOG. 0HVVLQD, who at the time of his ar­rest worked at a Lans­dale area auto-body shop, re­mains free on bail pend­ing sen­tenc­ing.

As­sis­tant District At­tor­ney Ja­son Whalley vowed to seek manda­tory state prison sen­tences against Messina.

“What he has ad­mit­ted to is his role in the metham­phetamine distri­bu­tion ring that was taken down over the win­ter of this past year,” Whalley said. “ee was one of our main tar­gets.”

Messina was one of 32 peo­ple, many of whom lived LQ HDW­fiHOG, 6Fh­wHQNVvLOOH, Lans­dale, Gil­bertsville, Phoenixville, Roy­ers­ford, Lower Prov­i­dence, Lim­er­ick, North Wales, Blue Bell and Philadel­phia, who were charged in con­nec­tion with their al­leged roles in the op­er­a­tion as dis­trib­u­tors, users or pushers of the ex­pen­sive drug.

“7hLV FDVH wDV fiOOHG wLOO deal­ers and users, so peo­ple who were deal­ing it were also us­ing it and con­sid­er­ing this type of drug, that can be a dan­ger­ous com­bi­na­tion,” Whalley al­leged.

De­fense lawyer Sean Cullen in­di­cated he will ar­gue that any manda­tory prison terms against Messina be im­posed con­cur­rently as op­posed to con­sec­u­tively.

“ee was al­ways will­ing to ac­cept re­spon­si­bil­ity for what he had done and I think it’s an op­por­tu­nity for him to start to put th­ese things be­hind him,” Cullen said.

Cullen main­tained Messina should not be char­ac­terL]HG DV D PDMRU GUuJ GHDOHU.

“I think he was a vic­tim of his own ad­dic­tion,” Cullen said. “At some point the ad­dic­tion takes over, you lose the abil­ity to fund your own ad­dic­tion and then it be­comes a mat­ter of sell­ing or trad­ing in or­der to cover your own habit.”

“There were no ex­trav­a­gant life­styles here,” Cullen added. “It was all one course of con­duct. We’re go­ing to ask the judge for con­cur­rent sen­tences.”

At the time of the ar­rests in May, county District At­tor­ney Risa Vetri Fer­man said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the RUJDQL]DWLRQ EHJDQ DIWHU VhH re­ceived an anony­mous tip in the mail. Fer­man turned the let­ter over to the county’s Nar­cotics En­force­ment Team, which launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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