HOLLIDAYSBURG - A Brooklyn native was sentenced Tuesday to a minimum of six years in prison after entering guilty pleas to several drug charges.
Donald L. Carey, 30, had been charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, conspiracy and four counts of possession of illegal drugs.
Blair County President Judge Jolene G. Kopriva sentenced Carey to consecutive three- to 10-year prison terms on the cocaine and heroin charges, which means his prison time will be six to 20 years.
Blair County attorney Ed Zang represented Carey, while Assistant District Attorney Peter Weeks spoke on behalf of the prosecution.
Carey's arrest came after police took his girlfriend, Danielle Stossel, 26, into custody on May 28, 2010, following the purchase of
marijuana by a onfidential informant.
When Stossel was taken into custody, she told police her source was a male named "Fest."
But when she was left alone in a room at the Altoona Police Department, an officer noticed that Stossel was using her cellphone to send a message.
Police intercepted the message that stated: "Cops coming over. Get rid of all the stuff on the illuminated screen."
Officers went to the couple's apartment on the 500 block of Fourth Street and entered it without a warrant. They noticed a digital scale in the kitchen, marijuana in two bedrooms and a stash of money.
When police were there, Carey entered the apartment, picked up a bag and began to walk away.
They stopped him and discovered 1,246 packets of heroin, worth between $30,000 and $50,000 on the street. Police also found $3,503 in cash and 40 grams of cocaine during the ongoing search.
One of the questions in the case was whether the warrantless search was legal. Blair County Judge Timothy M. Sullivan upheld the search in a written opinion in March, writing that it was "readily apparent" to police reading Stossel's message there were drugs in the apartment.
Stossel spent 22 months behind bars before being released on bail in March after she told Sullivan that she was a changed person. She stated that life behind bars "is not me," and she said she wanted to get back into the working world.
She has not yet been sentenced.
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.