By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
A former Sharon man who got out from under a long federal prison term by apparently cooperating in the prosecution of other alleged drug dealers is again in the federal crosshairs.
Two weeks after local police arrested Matthew Hosey, 61, of Warren, Ohio, on drug charges, a federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted him in the same case, on a charge of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and heroin.
A federal judge has issued an arrest warrant for Hosey, who is in Mercer County Jail, but no information has been posted on his docket as to when he will be brought into federal court.
Hosey is supposed to have a preliminary hearing on local charges - possession of heroin, crack and drug paraphernalia and possession of heroin and crack with intent to deliver - at 9 a.m. Friday before District Judge Dennis M. Songer.
Mercer County District Attorney’s Office typically allows federal charges to proceed over local charges because the federal government has stiffer sentences, more flexible search and seizure rules and greater investigative resources.
However, the cases sometimes move forward for a time in both courts before local prosecutors withdraw their case.
State police filed the initial charges. According to the 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.
Hosey and the woman were “looking down at their laps and each others’ laps as if they were exchanging something,” police said.
At 2:20 p.m., police got out of their car, approached Hosey’s and saw Hosey and the woman make “furtive movements below the dashboard area of the vehicle,” police 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 baggies of crack and folded pieces of paper containing heroin, the packaging associated with the sales of the drugs, police said.
“Hosey denied ownership of the canister and placed ownership of the canister on (the woman) and that he was just holding it for (her).” police said.
The woman has not been charged.
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 to time served on Feb. 4, 2011, 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 by a jury.
If Hosey is convicted on the federal charge, he could be sentenced up to 20 years in prison, 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.