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Turners Falls heroin dealer sent to prison

GREENFIELD — A New York man was sentenced to three years in prison for dealing drugs in Turners Falls more than five years ago.

Antonio Wiggins, 53, of Walden, N.Y., also known as “Chill,” pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and heroin with intent to distribute Thursday in Franklin Superior Court. He was given credit for 149 days served while awaiting trial.

Wiggins had been charged with trafficking in cocaine, but the prosecution agreed to a reduction to possession with intent to distribute. Three charges of violating drug laws near a school or park were not prosecuted.

He was arrested in 2008, when the now-defunct Franklin-Hampshire Narcotics Task Force raided the Turners Falls apartment where he’d been staying.

Wiggins wasn’t present when the task force showed up, but his roommate was. Officers found a padlocked room in the 59 L St. apartment and broke it down. When they searched the room, they found a “chunk” of heroin as well as individual bags, 18 crack rocks and another 24 grams of the drug, 44 grams of powdered cocaine and a bag of ecstasy pills as well as a quantity of cocaine hidden in the hollow leg of a weight bench. Officers also found $780 in cash, two digital scales, drug packaging material and a “cutting agent” used to dilute the drugs and increase profit.

After the search, officers had the roommate call Wiggins and he returned shortly after. Officers read him his rights and asked him about the locked room.

“He told them ‘Nothing in that (expletive) room is mine,’” said prosecutor Jeremy Bucci.

Officers then found that Wiggins had two padlock keys on his keychain, both of which opened the Masterlock on the door. They also found several photographs of Wiggins, clothing and shoes that fit him, and a receipt with his name on it in a pair of pants in the closet.

Wiggins was arrested, and released on $50,000 cash bail after his arraignment. Then he left the state, returning to New York.

He did so to “start over,” according to defense attorney Jennifer Cox, but then relapsed and was arrested on drug charges in New York. A Massachusetts warrant was found and Wiggins agreed to extradition in January.

Cox said her client has had drug problems since he was 12 years old and came to Turners Falls to start anew. Unfortunately, she said, he became involved with a woman with a drug problem and fell back into his old habits.

The defense attorney said Wiggins wants to make a difference, has begun assisting in Narcotics Anonymous meetings and tutoring some of the younger attendees and hopes to attend college after his release.

You can reach David Rainville at: drainville@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 279 On Twitter, follow @RecorderRain

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