CLEARFIELD — An Ohio man convicted of multiple drug felony charges for supplying a large amount of drugs for sale in Clearfield County could spend the rest of his life in prison.
In March, a Clearfield County jury convicted James Deshaun Thomas, 52, of 11 counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and one count each of criminal conspiracy/possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance, corrupt organizations, criminal conspiracy/corruption. organizations and the criminal use of the means of communication.
At a court symposium on Monday, Thomas was sentenced by Judge Paul Cherry to 35 to 70 years in state prison with seven consecutive years of probation.
Senior Deputy Attorney General Michael Madeira, in a telephone interview, said he was satisfied with the sentence, which will be consecutive to Thomas’ current federal prison sentence of 15 years on drug and drug charges. fire arms.
Defense attorney Joe Ryan requested a concurrent sentence, Madeira said.
“I appreciated that they didn’t give it a ‘volume discount'” Madeira said. “If they sell (drugs) multiple times, they should receive multiple sentences.”
Thomas has only served three years of the federal sentence, so it will be some time before he starts this new prison term, he said.
Thomas was the source, first for Don Mullens of Houtzdale, until his death from a drug overdose in May 2018, then for his girlfriend, Sondra McQuillen, 56, according to grand jury testimony and testimony of the trial.
The investigation into the drug ring began in September 2017, after multiple controlled purchases of methamphetamine from a Clearfield couple, Jason Lynn, 40, and Joyce Lee Merritts, 36, according to grand jury testimony.
During the trial, testimony revealed that Mullens and/or McQuillen traveled to Ohio approximately 26 times in 2018.
On July 26, 2018, law enforcement officers tracked McQuillen and another individual to Akron where she met Thomas. She purchased methamphetamine and other drugs for $3,800, according to the report.
She was tracked to Clearfield County where investigators executed a search warrant on her vehicle.
Officers reportedly found a third of a pound of methamphetamine, crack, marijuana and pills suspected to be prescription drugs in the vehicle.
Search warrants were also executed at Thomas’ residence on the same day. They discovered 4 ounces of meth, almost 200 grams of cocaine/crack and marijuana.
At the barbershop where he worked, police found 2 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 4 ounces of cocaine and nearly 3 pounds of marijuana, according to earlier reports.
The grand jury heard that Thomas admitted to meeting McQuillen the day she was arrested by police, through phone calls from jail. He further admitted that he should have stopped “to do things” with McQuillen after Mullens’ death.
In February 2019, Jason Merritts pleaded guilty to selling methamphetamine from this source in their Lawrence Township apartment and was sentenced by Cherry to 3.5 to seven years in state prison with an additional 10 years in prison. probation.
In July 2019, his wife, Joyce Merritts, was placed in the state’s Intermediate Sanctions Program for similar drug offenses.