Crucible man sentenced to 2 to 4 years on drug conviction

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WAYNESBURG – A Crucible man found guilty by a Greene County jury in March of possessing more than a gram of heroin was sentenced Thursday by Greene County Judge William Nalitz to 2 to 4 years in prison.


Jeffrey Christopher Speer, 26, of 101 B Crucible Road, was convicted by a jury March 17 of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance; possession of heroin, one gram or more; possession of drug paraphernalia; and endangering the welfare of a child.


In addition to the prison sentence, Speer was ordered to pay a fine of $5,000. According to the sentencing order, his minimum sentence will be 18 months if he complies with conditions of the Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive. The court also recommended him for motivational boot camp.


Speer was arrested by Cumberland Township police April 23, 2013, at the home he shared with his girlfriend, Melinda Puckett, 23, who was also arrested on drug charges.


A search of the residence yielded numerous stamp bags of heroin. Empty stamp bags, some containing heroin residue, also were found inside a child’s basinet and diaper bag and in other areas easily accessible to Speer’s 3-year-old stepchild.


Police went to the home to assist Greene County Children and Youth Services, which had an open investigation involving the couple, according to the criminal complaint. Police said they also had received a tip of illegal drug activity at the home.


Puckett permitted the CYS caseworker and police to enter the residence. Police also were given permission to use a police canine to search the residence.


Puckett later retracted her permission for the search and was taken into custody while a search warrant was obtained. While waiting for the warrant, Puckett told police she had heroin on her and removed seven stamp bags from her bra.


After obtaining the warrant, police searched the home and found 197 empty stamp bags and a kit holding 63 stamp bags containing heroin, snorting straws, rubber bands, tape and $162.


Stamp bags, some containing residue, were found inside the bassinet, in a diaper bag, next to baby bottles in a rear bedroom, inside a box of crayons and on the floor of the child’s bedroom, police said. The bags also were found on the couch, under couch cushions and in other locations accessible to the child.


Puckett pleaded guilty in March to possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was sentenced to 6 to 23 ½ months in jail.


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