Prison imposed in heroin trafficking case

2013-02-20T00:00:00Z 2013-02-20T06:02:27Z Prison imposed in heroin trafficking caseBy ANNE JUNGEN | La Crosse Tribune

A judge Tuesday sentenced a Fitchburg, Wis., man convicted of trafficking $11,000 worth of heroin to three years in prison.

Equon Hopkins, 32, must comply with mental health treatment during his time incarcerated and seven years on extended supervision under the sentence handed down by La Crosse County Circuit Judge Elliott Levine.

“You have issues that need to be addressed that are intensive,” Levine said.

A La Crosse County sheriff’s deputy found Hopkins with heroin and marijuana on July 15, 2011, after stopping a car for a damaged license plate and a faulty taillight on Interstate 90, according to court records.

A passenger in the car told the deputy Hopkins tried to get her to hide the drugs in her body just before they were stopped, the complaint states.

Hopkins pleaded guilty to a felony charge of possession with intent to deliver heroin. Another drug charge was dismissed but considered by the court at sentencing.

Assistant District Attorney Edward Minser called for a five-year prison sentence, noting Hopkins’ criminal record involves 10 convictions and failed attempts on community supervision.

“We haven’t seen any indication that this defendant will change,” he said.

Hopkins fled to Indiana while on bond before he was arrested again in La Crosse. He continues to deny involvement in the case and is a danger to the community, Minser said.

“The defendant is no small dealer,” he said. “It only takes a small amount of heroin to create tragic consequences.”

Hopkins told the judge he’s the product of abusive and drug-addicted parents. His mother was almost killed over a drug debt.

“I grew up too fast,” he said.

Hopkins struggled for years with undiagnosed mental illnesses and no treatment for those that were, he said. He turned to drugs to self-medicate and warned he could relapse without medication and treatment.

“I don’t feel prison will help me. It will only be counterproductive,” he said.

Defense attorney Francis Rivard argued his client needs the mental health treatment offered in the community, noting he might not receive any if imprisoned.

Rivard asked for a stayed prison sentence so Hopkins could continue mental health treatment. He noted his client already has served a year in the county jail, which “is enough of a punishment.” Hopkins also plans to return to college to obtain a degree that’s only 29 credits away.

“This is a case where rehabilitation as opposed to punishment is the better route to go,” Rivard said. “Without the treatment, Mr. Hopkins is at a much much higher risk to recidivate.”

Copyright 2015 La Crosse Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(4) Comments

  1. Mike Hammer
    Report Abuse
    Mike Hammer - February 24, 2013 12:04 am
    God forbid that anyone should have a serious discussion regarding heroin. Here is some light reading:

    "Ironically, the Taliban had overseen a significant fall in heroin production in the months before the invasion. Their leader Mullah Mohammed Omar – collaborating with the UN – had decreed that growing poppies was un-Islamic, resulting in one of the world’s most successful anti-drug campaigns. As a result of this ban, opium poppy cultivation was reduced by 91 per cent from the previous year’s estimate of 82,172 hectares. The ban was so effective that Helmand Province, which had accounted for more than half of this production, recorded no poppy cultivation during the 2001 season. However, with the overthrow of the Taliban opium fields returned, despite the destruction of crops by coalition forces and initiatives to persuade farmers to switch to other produce.

  2. TheJudgeJuryProsecution
    Report Abuse
    TheJudgeJuryProsecution - February 20, 2013 9:30 am
    How about ten strikes and your out. This POS deny's involvement in the case and takes off while on bond. Innocent people don't run Equon. Stand up like a man and take your punishment. You are no different than any other criminal, life is good until you get caught. Once your nabbed then you blame your momma, your childhood, your environment, your friends, and anything and everything except yourself. Prison and the justice system is not there to help you, it's there to protect the innocent from monsters like you. I'd say you have had plenty of chances to help yourself.
  3. Richy
    Report Abuse
    Richy - February 20, 2013 9:09 am
    Yes- Finally a Heroin Dealer going to jail! Not long enough as far as I am concerned. Jail is to good for Meth and Heroin Dealers. Rot you B astards all of you!
  4. Napoleon
    Report Abuse
    Napoleon - February 20, 2013 12:50 am
    Re: “I don’t feel prison will help me. It will only be counterproductive,” he said."

    Prison is not there to help you, it's there to help us keep safe from you. Difference.

    Help yourself by not doing crime!

    Three years is very weak. And, three years is never three years, is it?

    "Diagnosing crime: The failures of rehabilitation in the justice system"
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