3 sentenced to prison for drug crimes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 February 2015 at 12:00 am

ALBION – Three people were sentenced to state prison on Monday for their roles in drug crimes in Orleans County.

John H. Butler, 33, of Lockport received the longest sentence of 3 years in prison. Butler was arrested in December 2013 after police seized 43 bags of crack cocaine from the vehicle he was driving, which was parked in the American Legion parking lot in Albion.

Butler has been in jail since his arrest. His attorney Kevin McKain said Butler has been a model inmate in the county jail. Butler wasn’t selling the drugs, McKain said.

Butler is a second-felony offender. His prior felony was fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance in November 2005.

As part of a plea deal, Butler faced a maximum three-year sentence on Monday and County Court Judge James Punch gave him the maximum, plus an additional two years of post-release supervision.

A Rochester man also was sentenced to state prison on Monday. Laquan J. Simmons, 22, was arrested in April with 6.7 grams of crack cocaine in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Police seized 22 bags of crack cocaine packaged for sale and a larger bag of crack cocaine. They have a street value of more than $1,500, the Orleans County Major Felony Task Force reported then.

Simmons, who was on parole, also has been on Probation twice. Simmons suffers from mental health issues and “an extremely dysfunctional childhood,” his attorney Barry Dolgoff told the judge during sentencing.

Punch declined Dolgoff’s request to sentence Simmons to Probation, and instead gave him 2 years in prison.

“For a young man you’ve got quite a history,” Punch said.

A Batavia man also was sentenced to two years in state prison for his drug activity. Terry J. Toote, 37, is a second-felony offender with a past charge of second-degree assault in March 2006.

Toote’s attorney Thomas Keane said Toote has struggled with his own drug problem. Keane said Toote had a very small role in the drug crime that led to his arrest.

Judge Punch said Toote committed a “low-level offense” but still deserved jail time given his prior criminal history. In addition to two years in prison, Punch sentenced Toote to two years of post-release supervision.

Toote apologized to the community and his family “for the acts I’ve done.”