Sykesville man receives 18 months for cocaine distribution


A Sykesville man was sentenced to 18 months in the county jail after pleading guilty yesterday to two counts of cocaine distribution.

Franklin Alexander Rheubottom, 53, of the 5600 block of Bartholow Road also was convicted of violating probation in a 1990 cocaine distribution case.

In a plea deal with prosecutors, Rheubottom entered the guilty pleas in two separate cases stemming from last year and earlier this year. Carroll Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. imposed five-year concurrent prison sentences in each case, but suspended all but 18 months of the jail time.

The judge imposed a concurrent 18-month sentence for the probation violation.

Rheubottom will be allowed to serve his sentence on work release, the judge said.

According to Carroll Circuit Court records, Rheubottom was charged in October with selling cocaine to a police informant in Westminster.

In February, he again was charged with distributing cocaine to an informant.

Court records said that less than four grams of cocaine changed hands in each case.

Prosecutors dropped seven other charges in both new cases. If Rheubottom had been convicted on all nine counts, he could have been sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.

Rheubottom is the father of Carroll's only thrice-convicted cocaine dealer, Noland Maurice Rheubottom of Westminster.

Last year, the Maryland Court of Appeals refused to review the reversal of Noland Rheubottom's third cocaine-distribution conviction. Earlier, the Court of Special Appeals reversed the Jan. 20, 1993, conviction because the trial judge failed to instruct the jury hearing the case about incorrect statements made by a prosecutor in his closing arguments.

That conviction led to a 45-year prison term for Noland Rheubottom. His sentence is believed to be the longest ever imposed in a Carroll County court for drug dealing.

Noland Rheubottom's retrial is set for May 22.

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