[h1]Drug Defendant Says He Was Paying College Tuition[/h1]
By DAVID OWENS |Courant Staff Writer July 12, 2008 VERNON - — A Hartford man who told police he was selling heroin to pay his tuition at the University of Connecticut pleaded guilty Friday to possession of narcotics with intent to sell.
Stephen H. Laurencin, 19, was then sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of probation by Superior Court Judge Angelo L. dos Santos in Rockville.
Laurencin and another man were arrested April 15 after police were tipped that Laurencin, who lived in South Dorm, had been selling heroin in eastern Connecticut and would be arriving on campus from Hartford with heroin. He was riding in a car driven by Alimahad A. Isa, 21, of West Hartford.
Isa, a junior who lived in Hicks Hall, told police that Laurencin paid him $30 to drive him from Hartford to UConn.
Police, who were expecting the pair to arrive at W lot on the north edge of campus off Route 195, swooped in and found 200 bags of heroin in a computer bag. Laurencin admitted the heroin was his and told police that he had it "to make money to help pay for college."
Laurencin pleaded guilty Friday after his lawyer, Brendan Putman of Rockville, reached a plea agreement with Tolland State's Attorney Matthew C. Gedansky. Laurencin, who was in custody on $200,000 bail, was initially charged with conspiracy to sell heroin, conspiracy to possess heroin, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of heroin with intent to sell.
Isa, who is facing the same charges as those brought against Laurencin, remains free on $25,000 bail.