A convicted heroin dealer from Kalispell has been sentenced to 10 years in state prison, despite alternative recommendations from both the state and his attorney.
Flathead District Court Judge Amy Eddy on April 20 denied 27-year-old Kyle Joseph Jacobs’ request for commitment to the Department of Corrections to get addiction treatment.
Jacobs was charged with two counts of attempted criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute after subsequent charges of possession and distribution were dismissed.
The first count resulted from an incident in May 2016 when authorities received a tip that Jacobs had just returned from a trip to Seattle with an unknown amount of heroin. According to court documents, when officers responded to Jacobs’ residence, they found 17 grams of heroin, multiple jewel baggies, drug paraphernalia and several guns, one of which was found to be stolen.
Court records state the second count was the result of a suspicious package found in August 2016 at the post office addressed to Jacobs’ grandfather at Jacobs’ residence with his grandparents. The package was reportedly found to contain 37.5 grams of heroin.
During this time Jacobs had been released on his own recognizance for his pending first charge.
When Jacobs arrived to pick up the package, he was met by law enforcement. Jacobs then attempted to flee the scene but was apprehended by officers.
Additional heroin, methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and a firearm were found on Jacobs’ person at the time.
According to Drug Enforcement Administration Federal Agent Todd Davis, one-tenth of a gram of heroin is equal to one dosage unit, or a “point.” The 54 grams collected from Jacobs in this case would translate to 540 doses of heroin. This does not include the amount involved in other drug possession and distribution charges that were dismissed.
DURING HIS testimony, Jacobs admitted to having a drug problem and asked for the chance to get help rather than being “thrown into the system.”
“I know I need treatment,” Jacobs said. “I don’t see how I could benefit from going to prison.”
Based on his statements, Jacobs was once a promising student, graduating high school six months early and making good grades in college where he was attempting to earn a degree in electrical technology.
Jacobs said his drug use began as a teenager when he first used marijuana and then graduated to using painkillers to “help mask emotions.”
According to court documents, he later began using heroin and methamphetamine, selling heroin to support his habit.
District Attorney Ed Corrigan asked Jacobs whether it ever occurred to him that the drugs he was selling might end up in in schools.
Jacobs said that what people did after they bought from him was up to them and denied responsibility for what could have happened as a result of his actions.
DESPITE HAVING sold drugs while living in their home, Jacobs’ grandparents wrote letters to the court on his behalf and were also present in the courtroom for his sentencing.
Corrigan said he disapproved of Jacobs’ attitude in court and said he was not particularly impressed with Jacobs. However, he said it was his grandparents’ continued support that led him to recommend a 20-year commitment to the Department of Corrections with 15 years suspended.
Lane Bennett, Jacobs’ attorney, countered with a recommendation of a 10-year commitment to the Department of Corrections with five years suspended. Bennett argued that if he was going to relapse into addiction, it would happen within a few years, and if he could remain sober for 10 years he could do it for 20.
Eddy ultimately disregarded both recommendations, opting for a 10-year sentence to Montana State Prison for each count, with both running concurrent and with no time suspended.
“We’re not here for an addiction issue,” Eddy said as she addressed Jacobs. “You were mailing heroin to your grandfather in his name.”
Eddy said she viewed distribution charges much differently than possession charges.
Considering the drug problem present in the area, Eddy said she believed Jacobs did need treatment but also deserved to be subsequently punished for his actions, whether prison “benefited” him or not.
Reporter Mary Cloud Taylor can be reached at 758-4459 or email@example.com.