Cortlandville drug dealer sentenced to 2 years in prison

A Cortlandville man convicted of possessing drugs he intended to sell was sentenced last week in Cortland County Court to two years in prison and two years of post-release supervision.

James T. Byron, 56, formerly of 15 Kingsley Ave. Lot 2, was arrested with McKyla A. Miller, 27, in a pre-dawn drug bust by the Cortland County Drug Task Force on Feb. 15, 2019 at their home. Police found 10 grams of heroin, 1 gram of cocaine, 1 gram of methamphetamine, 1 gram of marijuana and 110 pseudoephedrine pills, the essential ingredient to manufacture meth, according to court records.

James accepted the plea agreement after Judge David Alexander ruled in March that the sales of heroin to a confidential police informant in November and December 2018 could be introduced as evidence should the case go to trial, according to court documents.

As part of the plea agreement, the nine charges levied against Miller from the drug bust were dismissed.

Byron pled guilty to the top count of the nine count indictment levied against him: felony third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell.

While James was in possession of a large amount of drugs, the presence of the substances suggests that James was using drugs, argued his defense attorney David Hartnett.

“To me that screams out this man needs help,” said Hartnett. “He’s not going to get that in prison.”

Hartnett asked Alexander sentence James to probation, citing it was the recommendation of the Cortland County Probation Department’s pre-sentencing report.

James told Alexander that he found himself “on the wrong path” after his divorce and the loss of his job.

“I found myself uncertain about a lot of things,” said James. After he started “getting help,” things started improving, he said. James concluded, “Everyone is entitled to a mistake.”

Alexander extended his sympathy to James, but stated that considering the seriousness of what James admitted to in court, he was “compelled to abide by the plea bargain.”

The maximum prison sentence James could have received was nine years in prison and two years of post-release supervision.