WILKES-BARRE – A city woman charged in what a police official called the largest heroin bust in the city’s history was sentenced Wednesday to six to 12 years in state prison.
Jasmine Brite Hutchins, 30, of Scott Street, was sentenced on four counts of delivery of heroin and a single count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance by Judge Thomas Burke.
Hutchins, who pleaded guilty in March, apologized, saying she had choices to make in her life and, I made the wrong choice.
She was charged in June 2009 after undercover drug officers had her apartment under surveillance for a number of weeks. Investigators said they saw Hutchins leaving the apartment to deliver heroin packets to buyers on multiple days. Investigators said informants contacted Hutchins’ cell phone to arrange heroin purchases.
After Hutchins’ arrest, police searched her apartment and found roughly 3,400 packets of heroin, totaling an estimated value of $65,000. Also seized was a loaded handgun, $1,500, money wrappers, a digital scale, marijuana, cell phones and a gang-affiliated magazine.
At the time, Wilkes-Barre Police Chief Gerry Dessoye said the heroin confiscated from Hutchins’ apartment was the most taken at one time in the city’s history.
Assistant District Attorney Mark Makowski prosecuted the case.
She knows she did wrong, Hutchins’ attorney, Jonathan Blum, said. She got caught up with the wrong people.
Under Hutchins’ plea agreement in March, attorneys agreed to a six-to-12-year sentence for her crimes. Prosecutors dropped an additional five counts of possession of a controlled substance, four counts each of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and criminal use of a communication facility, and one count each of possession of a small amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
You are here because of what you’ve done, not who you are, Burke said Wednesday. You got caught in a web of drug trafficking activity. The punishment is reflective of the severity of this offense.
Hutchins also was sentenced to 12 months probation each on six remaining counts, but Burke ordered that they run concurrently with the prison sentence.
Previously free on $5,000 bail, Hutchins was immediately jailed after Wednesday’s sentencing.
By Sheena Delazio
July 1, 2010