Two years ago, Antonio McIntosh, originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., was led away to federal prison with a 35-year sentence for dealing crack cocaine in this city.
On Wednesday, he left federal court again, but this time with 26 years less time to serve.
McIntosh and co-conspirator Domonique Haynes, originally of Philadelphia, appealed their May 2006 convictions, and the U.S. Attorneyâ€™s Office offered to have the case returned to U.S. Middle District Court here for a hearing.
But the hearing never took place because the government presented both men with a plea offer that substantially reduced the amount of prison time.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has never fully explained why it opted to offer a plea agreement instead of conduct a hearing.
Some court sources have said the nine- and eight-year sentences the two face still are significant. But others suggest it was a likely way to keep the process from getting complicated by the state prosecution of two former city police officers who were involved in the McIntosh-Haynes investigation and who now face unrelated corruption charges brought by a state grand jury.
Former Lt. Thomas Ungard and former Cpl. Dustin Kreitz have surfaced as targets in other appeals. But, during McIntosh’s sentencing before U.S. Senior Judge James F. McClure, defense attorney Andrew Shubin mentioned Kreitz by name as he argued that a pre-sentence report should be disregarded because it relied on findings from the jury trial during which Kreitz was a witness.
Shubin alleged the trial was tainted by misconduct, but Assistant U.S. Attorney John McCann argued there is no proof of trial misconduct by anyone, including the suspended officers.
McCann also argued that the evidence against McIntosh was overwhelming because he was caught by a federal drug enforcement agent in this city and New Jersey state police on a different occasions both times with significant amounts of crack cocaine.
He called the allegations “speculation” and McIntosh an organizer of the local drug conspiracy with a lengthy prior record. He also pointed out that the whole discussion had no impact on the sentence about to be imposed because, under the advisory sentencing guidelines for the charges McIntosh faced, sentencing was nine years no matter how it was considered.
Haynes has not yet been resentenced but likely will get about eight years, compared to the 27 years he got in 2006.
The two have been incarcerated since their arrests in 2003. During guilty plea proceedings, they admitted to counts of interstate transportation of illegal drugs and use of a telephone to facilitate distribution of crack cocaine.