By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
SHENANGO VALLEY —
For the second time in nearly six years, a former Sharon man has pleaded guilty to a federal drug charge.
Matthew Hosey, 62, of Warren, Ohio, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to a charge of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and heroin.
According to state police, a state trooper and a Southwest Mercer County Regional policeman were conducting surveillance April 24 in an area of Sharon known for drug activity when they saw Hosey’s vehicle parked in the 400 block of Mesabi Street.
A little while later, police saw Hosey sitting in his vehicle in the 300 block of Mesabi when another car pulled up and dropped off two women, police said. One of the women went into an apartment, but the other got into Hosey’s car, police said. The Southwest cop recognized the woman because he had arrested her about two months earlier, federal prosecutors said.
Hosey and the woman were “looking down at their laps and each others’ laps as if they were exchanging something,” police said.
Police drove their car nose to nose with Hosey’s, got out of their car with weapons drawn, and approached Hosey’s, federal prosecutors said.
The policemen saw Hosey and the woman make “furtive movements below the dashboard area of the vehicle,” as if they were trying to hide something, authorities said.
Police removed the two from the car for the safety of police and patted them down. A plastic film canister was found in Hosey’s shirt pocket containing bags of crack and folded pieces of paper containing heroin, police said.
Hosey, who will be sentenced April 28, could be imprisoned for up to 20 years, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Pittsburgh.
However, because Hosey has at least one previous felony drug conviction on his record, the maximum sentence could jump to up to 30 years, if prosecutors officially invoke that conviction prior to sentence, officials said.
Hosey pleaded guilty in April 2008 to a charge of possession of crack with intent to distribute stemming from an April 1, 2007, search by state police of his Shenango Township motel room. The search turned up 13 bags of crack – weighing a total of almost one-fourth of an ounce – and drug paraphernalia, police said.
He was sentenced in June 2008 to 21 years, 10 months in prison after a judge determined Hosey’s criminal history, which includes convictions on assault and drug delivery charges, made him a career offender.
However, the sentencing judge reduced Hosey’s sentence on Feb. 4, 2011, to time served and 8 years’ supervised release. No reason was given for the reduction but such reductions often are the result of a defendant cooperating with authorities.
Hosey testified at the federal trial of a local man who ultimately was acquitted of drug offenses.