A woman convicted of selling heroin and fentanyl argued she was blinded by love for her drug-dealing boyfriend, but the judge disagreed and sentenced her to three and half years in prison.
Rashanda Spates pleaded no contest earlier this month to charges of sale of heroin and fentanyl within 1,000 feet of a place of worship.
Spates and her live-in-boyfriend, Deandrick Bacon, both 39, were arrested in June as part of joint investigation by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that identified the couple and their home as one of the sources of some of the heroin and fentanyl being trafficked in Manatee County, the epicenter of Florida’s drug overdose epidemic.
Spates appeared before Circuit Judge Diana Moreland Tuesday afternoon for a sentencing hearing. Her defense attorney, Charles Britt, argued for a lesser sentence, saying she had only played a minor role in the drug sales while blinded by her relationship and that she was remorseful for her actions.
“Mr. Britt was right, that a sophisticated or a more well-placed drug dealer knows that you don't go meet someone you don't know. So what did he decide? He decided to send the person that he knows would go for him,” Moreland told Spates before sentencing her. “He sold you out at that moment, maybe you still haven't realized that but at that moment he decide you were dispensable to him.”
Moreland said Spates had absolutely not been a minor participant in the drug deal she made May 23, and added that she did not feel Spates was remorseful.
“I don't ever get the feeling that you are at all remorseful that this happened that day,” Moreland said. “I feel regret, is more what I feel, and maybe you were ashamed because your family found about it.”
In addition to sentencing Spates to three and half years in prison, Moreland also ordered that it be followed by a year of probation and that her driver’s license be suspended.
Bacon, 39, was found guilty last week after a two-day jury trial on charges of trafficking in heroin, possession of a fentanyl, possession of heroin, sale of heroin within 1,000 feet of a church and sale of fentanyl within 1,000 feet of a church.
He will be sentenced at 2 p.m. Jan. 13. He faces as much as 100 years in prison.