Schenectady County

Convicted dealer gets 21 years

A city man arrested with more than 2 kilograms of cocaine in his home near Schenectady High School w
PHOTOGRAPHER:

A city man arrested with more than 2 kilograms of cocaine in his home near Schenectady High School was sentenced this week in federal district court to more than 21 years in prison.

Melvin Miller, 48, formerly of Waverly Place, pleaded guilty in January to possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

He had faced a minimum of 10 years, but Senior Judge Lawrence E. Kahn committed him to 21 years, 10 months.

Prosecutors had argued that the total haul seized from Miller, 2 kilograms and $50,000 in cash, clearly showed him to be a high level dealer “who had learned nothing from the ‘slaps on the wrist’ he received over the past 20 years.”

“This is exactly the type of offender to whom the ‘career offender’ guideline was intended to apply,” prosecutors wrote.

Miller was arrested May 16, 2007, after authorities raided the Waverly Place house. Cocaine found at the residence had an estimated street value of $87,000.

Prosecutors argued that Miller’s past firmly placed him in the career offender category.

The defense argued that Miller’s three prior felony convictions were more than 10 years ago and the sentences were all consolidated to a one-to-three-year term. That was his only prison sentence.

Defense attorney Terence Kindlon also argued that Miller’s criminal activity would not have occurred but for Miller’s own “severe substance abuse.”

Miller should have been sentenced to the minimum of 10 years, Kindlon argued. He could not be reached Thursday.

Prosecutors also noted that Miller has no explanation for nearly $25,000 in cash, “arguably drug proceeds,” found in his vehicle in February 2006. The cash was seized by authorities and Miller ultimately recovered only half.

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