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Turners Falls man sent to state prison for selling cocaine

GREENFIELD — A Turners Falls man was sentenced to state prison after admitting to several cocaine deals in Franklin Superior Court Thursday.

John Whalen, 29, of 19 G St., pleaded guilty to five counts of cocaine distribution and was sentenced to two years in state prison.

Whalen’s case dates back to 2010, when he sold cocaine to an undercover state trooper on five occasions.

Whalen admitted to selling the trooper cocaine in a Turners Falls parking lot on Sept. 8, 21, 30, and Oct. 19, 2010, and on Sept. 17 in a Greenfield lot.

Troopers tried to set up subsequent buys, but Whalen referred them elsewhere, stating that he had ceased selling drugs at the request of his girlfriend. Now Whalen’s fiancee and mother of his child, she sat in the back of the courtroom sobbing Thursday.

Defense attorney Alan Rubin told the court that his client cleaned up his act more than three years ago, to start a family.

“When he met his fiancee, who is here today, she said she’d have no involvement (in his crimes), and that if he continued” she would end the relationship, said Rubin.

The two thought they could move on, with Whalen’s drug dealing behind them.

“Since then, they’ve had a child. They wouldn’t have done that if they knew (my client) was facing a state prison term,” Rubin said.

It was too late.

Though the state police investigation moved on to other targets, they had all they needed to indict Whalen last year.

Bucci noted Whalen’s departure from drug dealing, and acknowledged that the defendant had not been charged in any criminal activity since 2010.

“It appears he may have voluntarily ceased his criminal conduct,” Bucci said. This, said Bucci, led the state to seek a reduced sentence.

Whalen faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison, with or without fines up to $10,000.

“It’s a sad case, but at least there’s hope,” said Judge John Agostini. He said Whalen seems to have put himself back on the right path, focusing on family.

“If that’s the motivation you need to stay away from drugs, some good can come of this,” Agostini concluded.

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

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