Caught dealing heroin after avoiding prison
A judge sentenced a New York City man to 12 years in prison on March 9 for violating the terms of his entry into Putnam County’s Drug Treatment Court.
Tiquan Lewis, 31, had been arrested on Jan. 2, 2015, and charged with selling heroin to an undercover agent. He pleaded guilty but entered the treatment court after telling Judge James F. Reitz his problems stemmed from addiction.
On Oct. 20, 2016, Lewis refused to give his probation officer the password to his cell phone during a random search of his belongings. He was sent to the Putnam County jail, where he attempted to remotely delete his phone, according to District Attorney Robert Tendy.
Once Lewis believed the information had been deleted, he provided the password. However, Tendy said the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department and Assistant D.A. Breanne Smith had safeguarded the phone when it was seized so it could not be deleted. A number of text messages and photographs showed that Lewis had continued to sell heroin in Putnam and adjacent counties.
“He was gaming the system, pretending to be an addict in need of help when he was really nothing more than a dangerous distributor of heroin,” Tendy said. “Our treatment court is a wonderful program, and it has saved hundreds of lives; but if you abuse the privilege you’re going to regret it.”
In addition to evidence of narcotics sales, Lewis also had credit card information in the phone, including the name, address and number of a woman who confirmed her card had been compromised.
Text messages in Lewis’s phone also showed that he often rented vehicles despite having a suspended license. On the day he was sent to jail, Lewis was in possession of keys to a Mercedes SUV that was later found in the courthouse parking lot.