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Woman pleads guilty to growing marijuana in Elderton

Thursday, July 3, 2014, 12:41 a.m.
 

A 40-year-old Indiana County woman on Wednesday pleaded guilty to her involvement in a marijuana-growing operation two years ago in an Elderton trailer.

Darla Darlene Connors of Home appeared before President Judge Kenneth Valasek in orange jail-issued clothing and pleaded guilty to two felony counts of manufacturing a controlled substance.

Judge Valasek noted that this is Connors' first drug charge.

“The maximum sentence is five years for each count,” he told Connors, adding that it is possible that each sentence could be made consecutive — meaning she could serve up to 10 years in jail.

Looking fresh faced and with hair trimmed above her shoulders, Connors appeared quiet and composed as she listened to the possible sentences she could receive at a hearing set for Aug. 7.

In exchange for her plea, Valasek removed her $25,000 bail and ordered that she be immediately released on her own recognizance from the Armstrong County Jail, where she has been held for five months.

Connors' charges stem from the discovery by police of a marijuana growing operation at 107 Wofford Lane in an Elderton trailer park on June 22, 2011.

According to a police criminal complaint, she had been living at the Wofford Lane trailer with co-defendant John Galentine, 40, when police investigated an “extremely potent odor of marijuana coming from inside the residence.”

A search warrant uncovered at least 140 pot plants and paraphernalia used in the growing operation.

Connors reportedly told police she knew growing and using marijuana was illegal and admitted to smoking the drug.

She and Galentine took off for Kansas after the discovery and were apprehended this year, said Charles Pascal, Connors' defense attorney.

Galentine on June 6 pleaded guilty to two counts of manufacturing a controlled substance and is awaiting sentencing.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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