One year sentence on drug charges
Alysha M. Orvis, 27, was a passenger in one of a pair of cars that traveled to the Holyoke area on June 27, 2016 and returned to the North Adams area after a large purchase of heroin was made.
The target of the investigation, Joshua Stimpson, had made arrangements to have two vehicles make the trip, to avoid being in the same vehicle as the drugs in the event of a traffic stop, Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Gregory Barry said.
Members of the Berkshire County Drug Task Force had received information about the purchase and followed the vehicles as they traveled to South Hadley, where Stimpson went into an apartment and emerged about 30 minutes later after having made the drug buy.
After tailing the two vehicles for much of the journey back to North Adams, police stopped both vehicles on Route 8.
Orvis was carrying about 450 bags of heroin on her and admitted to having swallowed another 15, requiring her to be taken to the hospital to have her stomach pumped, Barry said.
Barry recommended a split sentence of 18 months in jail, six months of which would be served and the balance suspended for a two-year period of probation.
Barry said the state's concern was that Orvis would be subject to relapsing into addiction if she didn't have the structure of a probationary period after her release from jail.
Her attorney, Richard S. Taskin, recommended a seven-month jail sentence, which would allow enough time for Orvis to participate in a particular rehabilitation program.
Taskin said Orvis has remained clean as not re-offended in the year since her arraignment, was not one of the "experienced players," involved in the drug deal and may not be a good candidate for probation.
Judge John Agostini sentenced her to one year in jail and said with the 77 days of credit she'd already earned as well as any sentence reduction she earns while incarcerated, she may still be out in six months and would be able to take advantage of any programs offered by the jail.
"This gives her a fighting chance," Agostini said.
Orvis pleaded guilty to one count each of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
She will serve her sentence at the Hampden County House of Corrections Chicopee Women's Facility.
The investigation was conducted by members of the North Adams Police Department, the Berkshire County Sheriff's Department, state troopers assigned to the District Attorney's Office and members of the Berkshire Law Enforcement Task Force.
Reach staff writer Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249 or @BobDunn413 on Twitter.
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