A Connecticut priest charged with federal drug charges has pleaded guilty. He was one of five charged in a federal case. The drug charges against him stem from a crystal meth drug operation. Because of his guilty plea, the prosecutors have agreed to request that charges involving six other drug sales be dropped. The minimum sentence he now faces is 10 years.
The methamphetamine was mailed from the west coast to him by the others charged in this case. Upon receiving the drug, the priest is said to have sold it out of his apartment. Federal authorities running an undercover operation were able to purchase the drug from him on multiple occasions. His estimated earnings from these actions were reported to be $300,000.
The priest was not currently active in his parish. He apparently resigned in 2011, asking for a sabbatical for personal and health reasons. His request was granted. The diocese has stated he was suspended in May 2012 and was still not reassigned at the time of the arrest.
Cases such as this can be an emotional and financial hardship on the accused, as well as on friends and family. In this particular case, the priest former congregation in Connecticut may also feel the repercussions of the guilty verdict. Nevertheless, both state and federal laws provide safeguards to ensure that anyone facing drug charges receives a fair and impartial trial. As this case now moves to its sentencing phase, the man will have the opportunity to submit evidence of mitigating circumstances in order to convince the court to hand down a sentence at the lower end of the federal sentencing guidelines.
Source: ABC News, "Connecticut Priest Accused of Dealing Meth Pleads Guilty," Alyssa Newcomb, April 2, 2013