Former city man found guilty of heroin possession, is now working as "drug rehab" counselor in Georgia
The Sunday News (Lancaster, PA)
By Thomas L. Flannery
A former Lancaster man was found guilty late Friday of possessing heroin with the intent to sell the drug in September of 2000.
Anthony J. Mariani, 40, now of Dunwoody, Ga., also was found guilty of possessing drug paraphernalia.
Mariani, who has undergone voluntary drug rehabilitation and now works as a counselor for the inpatient Narconon program outside Atlanta, faces a possible 2-year mandatory minimum prison sentence.
Judge David Ashworth ordered a presentence background investigation be completed within 30 days and said a sentencing date will be set within 60 days.
On Sept. 9, 2000, Mariani, who had a long history of heroin addiction, was involved in a disturbance at the Turkey Hill Minit Market, 2787 Lincoln Highway East.
When police arrived, they found Mariani in possession of 31 packets of heroin, weighing 1.1 grams, and assorted drug paraphernalia.
Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Conrad, who also is an agent for the county Drug Task Force, told the jury the individual packets indicated that Mariani was a dealer who sold the drugs to support his habit.
Under questioning by his attorney John Kenneff, Mariani said that he was so heavily addicted that the number of packets was for his personal use.
An addictions expert for Mariani testified that, based on Mariani's history with the drug, having that amount for personal use was not uncommon.
Despite objections from Conrad, Ashworth allowed Mariani to remain free on $15,000 bail and return to the drug rehab center where he works and lives until he is sentenced.