Drug dealer sentenced to 44 months in prison
Published 7:59 am Monday, December 4, 2017
A man who sold heroin to a confidential police informant in 2015 and was arrested this year for possession of crack cocaine meant for distribution is headed to the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud.
Ernest Pitchford, III, 37, of Austin was sentenced to 44 months in prison for felony third-degree sales of a narcotic on Friday in Mower County District Court. Pitchford pleaded guilty to the charge on Thursday as part of a plea agreement. Charges of felony fourth and fifth-degree drug possession were dismissed as part of the agreement. He received credit for 63 days served.
Pitchford was also sentenced to 39 months in prison for felony third-degree sales of a narcotic-subsequent offense, which he pleaded guilty to on Feb. 6 as part of a plea agreement. A charge of second-degree drug sales of three grams or more of cocaine/heroin/methamphetamine within 90 days and three additional charges of felony third-degree sales of a narcotic-subsequent offense were dismissed as part of the agreement. He received credit for 90 days served.
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Judge Kevin Siefken issued the sentences, which will be served concurrently.
Pitchford sold heroin to a police informant in February 2015 after the informant arranged the purchase. The informant then met with narcotics officers a and surrendered the drugs.
Pitchford was arrested for outstanding warrants on Sept. 29 after police received a tip he was at the residence of a felony probationer with whom he had previously sold drugs. Police found him hiding in the basement and seized a bag containing 8.07 grams of cocaine he had in his pocket. The cocaine was divided among 20 smaller bags weighing 0.44 grams to 0.58 grams.
A review of Pitchford’s criminal history shows prior convictions for drug possession, drug sales, and assault.