By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – Pulling oneself out of the throws of drug addiction and the ensuing lifestyle can certainly be difficult; one young man received a lifeline from the Graham County Superior Court on Monday. Now the court and others await to see if he will use the line to climb out of addiction or figuratively hang himself with it.
Antonio John Paul Rea, 20, of Safford was sentenced to three years of standard probation to be served concurrently (at the same time) as an additional year of his previous probation.
Rea was found guilty on two petitions to revoke his probation as well as new charges of possession of a narcotic drug (heroin) – a Class-4 felony, possession of a dangerous drug (methamphetamine) – a Class-4 felony and possession of drug paraphernalia – a Class-6 felony. The original charges Rea was placed on probation in 2015 were for two amended charges of possession of drug paraphernalia – Class-6 felonies and facilitation to commit burglary – a Class-5 felony. Rea was initially arrested in June 2015 on charges of possession of a dangerous drug for sale after he crashed his bicycle while fleeing from a Safford officer and was found with 1.3 grams of methamphetamine, a digital scale, four small plastic baggies and other paraphernalia. The Graham County Attorney’s Office didn’t pursue a possession for sale charge, however, (perhaps because the meth seized didn’t reach the statutory threshold for sales in Arizona of 9 grams) and a possession of a dangerous drug charge was plead down to just possession of drug paraphernalia. Former Graham County Superior Court Judge R. Douglas Holt sentenced Rea to 90 days in jail with credit for 50 days served, followed by a three-year term of probation. Rea was still imprisoned when he plead down charges of burglary in the second degree, theft and trafficking in stolen property to the amended charge of facilitation to commit burglary.
Rea appeared in front of Graham County Superior Court Judge Michael D. Peterson on Monday and pleaded guilty while admitting to violating the terms of his probation and for possessing heroin, meth and drug paraphernalia. The new drug charges stemmed from an incident that occurred June 4 in the Thunderbird Mobile Estates south of Safford, after deputies were notified about a couple fighting. During the investigation, Rea was found hiding under a pile of laundry in a residence. He was arrested on a valid warrant to revoke his probation and was subsequently found in possession of heroin, meth and drug paraphernalia.
Judge Peterson ordered Rea to a three-year term of probation to be served concurrent with his other probation term. Peterson also ordered Rea to serve 60 days in jail consecutive for each count but deferred the jail time as long as Rea is compliant on probation, so no additional incarceration will occur as long as Rea adheres to his conditions of probation. Those conditions include mandatory substance abuse evaluation and treatment at the discretion of the probation officer and a completion of 360 hours of community work service over the term of probation.