North Adams woman avoids jail time after pleading guilty to heroin distribution

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PITTSFIELD — A North Adams woman arrested in 2018 as part of an investigation into heroin dealing had her case continued without a finding Wednesday, after pleading guilty in Berkshire Superior Court to a distribution charge.

Seton Janulis, 33, and her co-defendant, Chad Lutz, 41, also of North Adams, were identified by confidential informants as using a Hall Street apartment as a base of operations for heroin dealing.

Neither the state nor Janulis' attorney were seeking jail time. The attorneys differed only on whether Janulis would serve two years of probation and have the felony conviction on her record or whether she would have her charge continued without a finding and ultimately dismissed.

Both recommendations called for Janulis to abide by the same conditions for two years, including remaining drug free, undergoing a substance abuse evaluation and following whatever recommendations are made as a result.

The two were under surveillance, and investigators received word that Lutz had run out of heroin and was planning to resupply, according to Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Megan Tesoniero.

Police obtained a warrant to attach a GPS device to Lutz's vehicle. The vehicle was tracked to Holyoke, and police pulled it over in Savoy on its return trip. Janulis had about 1,400 bags of heroin strapped to her body when police stopped the vehicle.

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According to police, Lutz said he and Janulis were users and they each consumed about 100 bags per day.

A search of the Hall Street apartment recovered dealer paraphernalia including bags and a digital scale.

Janulis' attorney, Edmund St. John III, noted his client's lack of a criminal record and argued that his recommendation of a continuation without a finding with the two years of conditions accomplished the same goal as the state's recommendation, but without the felony conviction on her record.

Tesoniero also acknowledged Janulis' lack of a record but argued that the amount of heroin she was found with suggested the incident wasn't the result of a momentary lapse in judgment or of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She said, in light of the circumstances, her recommendation was appropriate.

Judge John Agostini ultimately adopted St. John's recommendation and, provided that Janulis avoids further legal trouble and abides by the conditions set by the court, her charge of possession of heroin with intent to distribute will be dismissed after two years.

Lutz's case remains open.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@berkshireeagle.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.


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