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Westminster man sentenced for intent to distribute drugs

A Westminster man was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison, with four years suspended, after pleading guilty to two felony charges of possession of a controlled dangerous substance with the intent to distribute in two separate cases.

Elias Rugama Salinas Jr., 24, of the unit block of South Bishop Street, was charged March 9 with possession of cocaine and heroin with the intent to distribute after police say they found drugs and packing materials in his home. Salinas was also charged April 15 with possession of narcotics with the intent to distribute, possession of a controlled dangerous substance that is not marijuana, and possession of controlled dangerous substance paraphernalia.

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A grand jury on April 16 indicted Salinas on six charges stemming from the March 9 arrest, and he was indicted May 7 for the three charges from the April 15 arrest.

Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Fred S. Hecker sentenced Salinas to 10 years in prison, then suspended four years, and ordered that he serve five years of probation after he is released.

According to a statement of facts read by Carroll County Deputy State's Attorney Ned Coyne, police found bags of drugs and a scale used to weigh drugs while conducting a search of Salinas' home on March 9 during an investigation.

Coyne said Salinas made a phone call while being held at the Carroll County Detention Center in which he spoke about distributing drugs.

Defense attorney Arthur Cheslock said during Tuesday's hearing that Salinas has been incarcerated since April 15 and has been in a work release program. Salinas was given credit for time served and will have the opportunity to enroll in a drug treatment program after a year of time served.

"I thought it was a good decision," Cheslock said after the hearing. "It gives him an opportunity to pull his life together."

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