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Guilty plea in drug case


WESTMINSTER -- A 20-year-old Baltimore man who has made at least six cocaine-selling trips to Carroll County pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of drug distribution in exchange for a the chance of a lighter sentence and the dropping of three other charges.

Christopher Grant Braxton, of the 5300 block of Denmore Avenue, made the guilty plea before Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. after his public defender and an assistant state's attorney agreed to recommend a suspended seven-year prison sentence and five years of probation.

According to court records, Braxton was arrested March 23 after undercover Westminster police officers observed him in a car described by informants as one in which drug transactions routinely occur.

Braxton was a passenger in the car. A search of the car revealed 45 vials of crack.

Court records said Braxton told police the cocaine was his and that he intended to sell it to another man who would then resell it. He had hoped to make $200 from the transaction.

Court records show that he told police he had made at least five other trips here to sell cocaine.

The plea agreement was a hasty one, both attorneys said. The offer for a deal was made Monday by Assistant State's Attorney Barton F. Walker III, said Barbara Kreinar, the public defender.

After having a motion for a postponement of yesterday's pretrial hearing denied by Judge Burns, Ms. Kreinar and Braxton spent about an hour reviewing the deal.

She and Assistant State's Attorney Kathi Hill then discussed the deal in a bench conference with Judge Burns, who declined to commit himself to any specific sentence.

However, should the judge be persuaded by the presentencing report to impose a longer sentence, the defendant can withdraw the plea and can go to trial.

Sentencing is set for Nov. 2.

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