CONYERS -- A couple was sentenced this week for their involvement in a shipment of almost 1,000 Ecstasy pills hidden in a stuffed teddy bear -- one of the pair is going to prison and the other is not.
Rockdale County Superior Court Judge David Irwin handed down the sentences Monday morning after both defendants pleaded guilty.
Brayin Kevin Powell, 26, of Atlanta pleaded guilty to trafficking in Ecstasy and Stephanie Marlene Craddock, 27, of Conyers entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to trafficking in marijuana.
Assistant District Attorney Kirk Thomas said the charges stemmed from an October 2007 incident in which U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, intercepted a package containing illegal drugs being shipped through the mail. Federal agents tracked the package from Kentucky to Craddock's Sigman Road apartment.
Thomas said authorities arrested Craddock two days later. The box contained a stuffed teddy bear with 988 Ecstasy pills. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation tested the drugs, which turned out to be more than 300 grams.
Craddock told the officials that she accepted the package on behalf of Powell, according to Thomas.
"She admitted that she knew the stuffed animal being sent to her contained illegal drugs ... she did indicate that they were going to be Skittles, which is the nickname for Ecstasy," Thomas said.
Craddock told authorities that Powell had her accept the box and hold it for a third party to pick up.
The state recommended a sentence of 20 years, with five to be served in confinement.
Public Defender Mark Hinds, who represented Powell, said his client had no previous criminal history.
"He hit the big one, didn't he?" Irwin said.
"Yes, he did, your honor," Hinds said.
The judge followed the state's recommendation and granted Powell first offender treatment.
The state recommended 10 years of probation for Craddock, "taking into account that she served six months and that she has been in cooperation with (the state)."
Craddock's attorney, Bryan Frost, told the court his client had no previous criminal history, realized her error and has not been in any legal trouble since the offense two years ago.
"She is in school. She is engaged, and she has moved forward with her life in a very positive manner," Frost said.
The judge accepted the state's recommendation and Craddock avoided jail time.
"Because of your conduct ... since Nov. 2 forward, you're one of the few people who are going to get the break of the century," Irwin said.