A West Virginia woman was sentenced today in Hancock County Common Pleas Court to four years in prison for first-degree felony heroin possession.
Shawntrina Y. Alford, 30, and Terrell E. Walker, 35, both of Huntington, West Virginia, were pulled over last August on Interstate 75 in Hancock County. According to the State Highway Patrol, they had 246 grams of heroin and a gram of marijuana, together worth about $43,788.
Lab results “indicated this was not just heroin that was in your possession,” Judge Jonathan Starn said in court today. “I mean, heroin’s bad enough. This is a mixture of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine. And honestly, of the three of those, fentanyl is the bigger problem.”
Alford and Walker were both indicted last August for possession of heroin, a first-degree felony, with a major drug offender specification.
Alford pleaded guilty to possession of heroin, a first-degree felony, without the specification, in April. The amount of heroin she possessed was amended to between 50 and 100 grams.
The specification would have required Starn to sentence Alford to 11 years in prison, the maximum possible time. Without it, her potential punishment ranged from three to 11 years.
Alford’s lawyer, Ken Sass, asked for sentencing to be continued to a later date so that Alford had more time to transfer guardianship of her children and enroll them in a new school district. Her sentencing had already been delayed once for medical reasons.
Assistant Hancock County Prosecutor Steve Powell objected to the request, and Starn proceeded with sentencing, saying Alford had “more than ample time to have made arrangements” for her children.
Their father, Walker, is currently out on bond and will be sentenced in November to at least three years in prison. He pleaded guilty last week to a first-degree felony charge for possession of heroin, also with the amended amount and without the specification.
Powell asked Starn to impose a seven-year sentence, noting that while Alford has no prior felonies or substance abuse issues, “we’re talking about the conveyance, the transportation of a large amount of very serious and deadly drugs.”
Sass urged the minimum sentence of three years. In addition to having no criminal record, he said, Alford has always reported to probation and to court, and her drug tests have been negative.
If prison weren’t mandatory, Alford would be a candidate for community control, Starn said.
Alford briefly spoke to apologize “for everything that happened.”
She has credit for three days already served in jail.