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Pair sentenced to prison terms on drug-distribution charges


Two Jamaican nationals were sentenced to a year in prison yesterday after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

Hopeton Anthony Hudson, 21, of Newark, N.J., and Richard Jackson, 20, of Irvington, N.J., pleaded guilty yesterday before county Circuit Court Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr.

Assistant State's Attorney Frank G. Ragione said the two men were arrested March 25 after a police stakeout of the Academy Motel, 200 Revell Highway.

Police had been called to the hotel by guests who reported a heavy amount of traffic in and out of the hotel room, he said.

Police found 60 grams of crack cocaine, with an estimated street value of $6,000, in a hole in the wall of the bathroom and in a hole in a drop-ceiling of their room.

Police also found three revolvers and a semiautomatic 9mm handgun hidden in the holes, he said.

Judge Thieme said he found it hard to believe claims by the defendants that they didn't know how the drugs and weapons got into their room.

"That's just incredible that they would try to make that assertion, and we're not talking about a small amount of cocaine here," he said.

As a result of their convictions, both men will likely face deportation proceedings before the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, Mr. Ragione said.

The two men yesterday entered Alford pleas, which means they do not admit guilt but agree that the state has enough evidence to win a conviction.

Michael Wachs, defense attorney for both men, said they hope )) to continue with their educations, keep working and remain in the United States.

Jackson is a high school graduate who attended four semesters at Essex Community College and Hudson wants to continue school to earn his general equivalency diploma, Mr. Wachs said.

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