Man accused of bringing heroin into county sentenced to prison

LISBON – Whether or not Maurice J. Brooks was selling heroin, transporting it for others to sell or just using it, he will be spending the next 12 months in prison.

Brooks, 27, Youngstown, was sentenced this week to one year by Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge Scott Washam. In February, Brooks had pleaded guilty to possession of heroin after he was found in possession of 5.3 grams of the substance at an East Pershing Street, Salem, home in February 2013.

Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble referred to Brooks as one of the people bringing heroin into the county. Gamble pointed out the recent rise in heroin in the county is leading to tragic deaths and a rise in property crimes due to people stealing items in order to support their drug addiction.

Brooks’ defense attorney James Hartford took offense to Gamble implying his client was trafficking in heroin, noting he has no evidence or Brooks would have been charged with trafficking. Instead, Hartford said his client is a heroin addict who was recently sentenced to probation only in Mahoning County for another possession of heroin charge. Hartford said any other charges Brooks has been charged with are misdemeanors and related to his arrest here for the heroin charge.

Brooks apologized to the court and his family, at least one of whom was in the courtroom supporting him. He noted he is working to stay clean and become a man.

Looking at Brooks’ record, Washam noted Brooks obviously did not learn from his mistake here in Columbiana County, because the Mahoning County charge came after his arrest here.