Hollywood Man Gets 18 Months for Cocaine Distribution

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Hollywood Man Gets 18 Months for Cocaine Distribution

Leonardtown, MD - 1/16/2013

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By Dick Myers

A Hollywood man has been sentenced to 18 months in jail after pleading guilty to distribution of heroin. The sentence on Zachary Yates, 21, was imposed Monday in St. Mary’s County Circuit Court by Judge David Densford. The judge also suspended the remainder of a 10-year sentence.

Yates was indicted in June of last year for an offense that occurred in May. A charge of possession on controlled dangerous substances was dropped by the state with the guilty plea to the more serious distribution charge.

Yates was a Leonardtown High School graduate and attended St. Mary’s College under a tuition assistance program. Judge Densford said Yates blew the educational opportunities made available to him. The judge said he was doing well in high school and then in college until the drugs interfered. His habit escalated into a $120 a day cocaine addiction by his own admission to the Office of Parole and Probation. “He is closing more doors than many people ever have available to them,” Densford observed.

Yates told the judge, “I understand what I did was wrong. I feel when I get this taken care of I can continue to move forward.”

Yates had been in a Walden counseling program but dropped out when he said he had problems with another attendee. The judge noted that Yates had repeatedly not taken advantage of opportunities to straighten himself out. “You blew it,” the judge said, and noted the relationship between his drop in school achievement and the increase in drug usage. “Do you see. It. When you are right, you do right,” the judge said.

Judge Densford gave Yates the opportunity for work release. But as to his ultimate release from jail, he said, “You sir are going to have to earn it.” Yates will be on three years’ supervised probation after his release.

St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney Richard Fritz represented the state at the sentencing hearing Monday. He noted the sentencing guidelines for the crime were one to three years in jail based on the defendant’s record and the circumstances, although the maximum sentence was 20 years for distribution of cocaine. Fritz asked for a sentence closer to the three years at the top of the guidelines.

Yates was represented at the sentencing by Public Defender Gerald Riviello.

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