A 23-year-old Juneau man accused of dealing heroin has changed his plea to guilty.
Musa A. Marenah entered his plea Tuesday in Juneau Superior Court before Judge Philip Pallenberg.
Marenah was arrested in March after members of the Juneau Police Department and Southeast Alaska Cities Against Drugs (SEACAD) task force conducted a controlled buy of heroin at the Breakwater Inn parking lot on Glacier Avenue.
Prosecutors said Marenah confessed to police when he was arrested and said he flew down to Washington state a couple times a month to purchase heroin. He said he pays his source in Washington $2,000 per ounce and sells it in Juneau for $100 for a 10th of a gram, according to an affidavit.
Marenah was originally indicted in March on two class ‘A’ felony charges, second-degree misconduct of a controlled substance, for dealing heroin on March 3. That’s a felony that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge: attempted second-degree misconduct of a controlled substance for taking a substantial step toward knowingly delivering heroin, with intent to commit a crime. That’s a ‘B’ felony that can carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
The other charge was dismissed, in accordance with a plea deal reached with prosecutors.
The plea deal calls for him to serve six years in prison with four years suspended. That means two years to serve, but he is to be given credit for time already served in prison and for time to be served at a treatment center.
Marenah’s attorney Julie Willoughby said her client has already served six months in prison, and will be attending a treatment program for 18 months. That means he won’t have to serve any more prison time, unless he re-offends while on probation whereupon a judge could impose his suspended time.
The plea deal requires him to be on probation for five years after his release. Conditions of probation would be open to the court.
The plea deal also calls for Marenah to admit to the “most serious” sentencing aggravator, which means the crime was the most serious in its class.
Pallenberg agreed to schedule a sentencing hearing in February 2014, after Marenah completes the treatment program.
The judge told Marenah that he will decide during the sentencing hearing whether he will accept the plea deal. Pallenberg warned Marenah that if he doesn’t complete the treatment program, the plea deal may be taken off the table.
Pallenberg signed a proposed order that allows Marenah to be released into the custody of a third-party custodian, his father, so he can get to the treatment program on Sept. 6.
• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.