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Harrisburg city man sentenced to 7 1/2 – 15 years after possessing over 102 grams in cocaine

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HARRISBURG, Pa.– A 40-year-old Harrisburg city man was sentenced to 7 1/2 to 15 years in a state prison after possessing over 102 grams in cocaine.

Derrick Thomas was convicted on February 11, 2016, by a Dauphin County jury for Possession with the Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance  and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

On January 16, 2016, Thomas was the passenger in a car which drove up to the scene of a “buy-bust” operation in the parking lot of the Asian Mall on South 13th Street in Harrisburg. An occupant in that car completed a delivery of cocaine to a confidential informant before entering another car and leaving the scene.

Harrisburg Police officers managed to stop and search the initial vehicle, where they found Thomas sitting in the car’s front passenger seat. Officers found a white grocery bag on the Thomas’ lap. Police collected the bag and a smaller bag on the passenger’s door, both of which contained crack cocaine. Overall, Thomas possessed over 102 grams of crack cocaine.

Shortly after his arrest, Thomas confessed that he did sell crack cocaine, including the approximately four ounces that he was charged with possessing. Thomas also admitted that he had $1,560 at the time of arrest from “hustling”, or selling crack cocaine, and that he sold cocaine regularly “to get rich.”

Despite confessing to the crimes to the police, Thomas refused to plead guilty and took a jury trial.  During the trial, Dauphin County Criminal Investigation Division Chief John Goshert testified that Thomas possessed at least $8,500 worth of cocaine and that evidence of Thomas’ intent to sell this cocaine was “overwhelming.”