Niles man sentenced for coke dealingPublished 8:41am Saturday, November 14, 2009
By NORMA LERNER
Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS – A Niles man who dealt with cocaine, stole a motor home, a tractor, a motorcycle, possessed firearms and who fled from police going 100 miles an hour on a motorcycle with his girlfriend on the back will now see prison bars for the next nine years.
Sentenced Friday morning in Cass County Circuit Court was Todd Collins, 39, of 2964 Redfield St., who was given 9-30 years by Judge Michael Dodge who said he could not find any substantial or compelling reasons for going under Collins’ guideline range of 108 to 180 months.
Most of the time during Collins’ hearing he sobbed while defense attorney R. McKinley Elliott pleaded for him to be sent to an alternative federal prison for his own safety. He said after the hearing that he would continue to plead to the department of corrections who would make the decision to change prisons if it could be done.
Prosecutor Victor Fitz said the defendant was involved with serious amounts of cocaine of 1,000 grams or more and conspiracy. He said that amount would supply hundreds for many months.
Elliott concurred with Fitz and his comments. “There were exceptional circumstances,” he said, noting he is further scheduled to provide testimony for two federal claims. He said Collins will be away from his kids a long time and miss their birthdays and Christmases.
Collins held his head down and cried as he addressed the court and said what he did was selfish. He said he regretted what he did over the last two years as his road was a roller coaster ride. “I am close to my family, kids and friends,” he said.
Dodge recounted between January 2002 and December 2007, Collins admitted that he was engaged in serious criminal activity. He conspired to deliver more than 1,000 grams of cocaine. He admitted to be in possession of cocaine with intent to deliver. He stole a Ford 350 pickup truck, a 1999 Gulfstream motor home worth more than $100,000, a tractor, a motorcycle, an air compressor and possessed three firearms.
Dodge said as a result of the plea agreement, other charges were dismissed.
Collins got a concurrent 8 to 20 years for delivery of cocaine over 50 grams; 3-10 years for stolen property over $20,000; 2-5 years for three counts of possession of firearms by a convicted felon; 1-2 years for possession of analogues; 1-3 years for fleeing a police officer, fourth offense; and a $250 fine for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He is to pay $1,160 in costs.