PITTSFIELD -- A New York City woman with ties to the Berkshires has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail for her role in a drug trafficking ring.
Delilah Saunders. 44, of The Bronx, helped negotiate a deal to purchase drugs in New York City, according to Assistant District Attorney Richard Locke. The incidents occurred in Pittsfield and Richmond between April 1, 2013 and July 20, 2013.
Much of the evidence was obtained by the execution of a wiretap search warrant on the telephones owned by one of the dealers.
One of the principals in the deal was Saunders' brother, Andrew "Tootie" Saunders, who also was part of the trafficking group. He was sentenced to between 4 and 4 1/2 years in state prison last month as part of a negotiated agreement with the Berkshire District Attorney's office.
Delilah Saunders pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court to two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and one count of trafficking in oxycodone.
Judge Daniel Ford sentenced her to 2 1/2 years in the House of Correction, and fined her $240.
In recommending the plea, Locke told Ford that Saunders "is very close to her family. She did not get rich doing this."
During the wiretapping, he said, officers heard Saunders decline opportunities to sell or transport drugs because she had family commitments, "which is not the usual response," he said.
Saunders' defense attorney, Lee Flournoy, concurred with Locke.
"This is a woman with no prior record whatsoever," Flournoy said. "She is a hard worker, loyal to her family.
Before Saunders was indicted, Flournoy said, she had enrolled in a nursing program she planned attend.
Seconds after Saunders tearfully accepted her plea and was being led away in handcuffs, a family relative wishing to hug her created a disturbance in the courtroom.
The relative, reportedly one of Saunders' daughters, apparently wanted to hug Saunders as she was being led away, "just one more time." Upon being told this was not allowed, the young woman burst into tears and angrily flung one of the court benches at a court officer.
Upon her exit, she slammed the door to the courtroom and was heard to be shouting profanities at the judge and the court system.
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