Saturday March 2, 2013

PITTSFIELD -- Three defendants in unrelated drug cases appeared on Wednesday in Berkshire Superior Court and disposed of their cases by plea rather than taking them to trial.

Ronald P. Sanford, 22, of Pittsfield, pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with the intent to distribute and drug violation within a drug free zone and was sentenced by Judge John A. Agostini to at least 31Ž2 years to five years in state prison.

The sentence was in line with a joint recommendation between Sanford’s attorney, Nathaniel K. Green, and prosecutor Marianne Shelvey. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on July 30, 2012.

The investigation was conducted by state troopers assigned to the Cheshire substation.

Mark L. Hunter, 52, of Springfield, pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin and cocaine, second offense driving with a suspended license and a number plate violation and was sentenced by Judge John A. Agostini to two years of probation.

The sentence followed the joint recommendation between Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Gregory Barry and defense attorney Richard Rubin.

During the probation period, Hunter must remain drug free and undergo drug testing.

A single count of second-offense possession of heroin with the intent to distribute was dismissed at the request of the DA’s office.

The investigation was conducted by members of the Lee Police Department.

Jacob L. Sweener, 22, of Pittsfield, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to posses cocaine and had his case continued without a finding for six months by Judge John A. Agostini. If Sweener stays out of trouble during that time, his charge will be dismissed.

Sweener was arrested in April 2012 by the Berkshire County Drug Task Force after a two-month investigation into cocaine dealing at the now-shuttered Hermann Alexander’s Bar on Lyman Street.

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Richard M. Locke prosecuted the case. Sweener was represented by attorney Colin Keefe.