Man enters guilty plea in Cortland heroin bust

CORTLAND, N.Y. – An Ulster County man will spend four years in state prison after pleading guilty to selling heroin at the Riverside Plaza earlier this year.

Shawn K. Richardson, 35, pleaded guilty Thursday in Cortland County Court to third degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a class B felony.

Richardson and Tori Gaeta, also of Ulster County, were arrested March 20 after police found 250 packets of heroin and $1,300 in cash in their vehicle at the Riverside Plaza.

Shawn Richardson

Shawn Richardson

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Richardson will spend four years in state prison followed by three years of post-release supervision. As a second felony offender, Richardson could have spent up to 12 years in prison.

Judge Julie Campbell said she felt the sentence was "a little light" given Richardson's prior felony conviction.

"I understand the only reason you were in Cortland County was to sell drugs to my people," Campbell told Richardson.

District Attorney Mark Suben said Richardson owes time on parole.

Records show Richardson was released on parole Jan. 24, 2014, after being convicted of two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance following a 2002 jury trial in Ulster County. He was sentenced to 8 - 25 years in prison.

Richardson remains in Cortland County Jail on $250,000 cash bail. He's scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 5.

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