Pot Bust Nets Fine For Veteran

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An Anthem man with a clean criminal record and an honorable military discharge was sentenced last week for attempting to buy 20 pounds of marijuana from an undercover officer.

More than two years after his arrest, Roderick Arnett Manning, 42, pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess marijuana for sale and will serve four years of probation with 180 days in county jail deferred. A judge also ordered Manning to forfeit a 1992 BMW and 1996 Land Rover, pay nearly $40,000 in fines and serve 240 hours of community service.

On Sept. 15, 2010, Gila County Narcotics Task Force deputies arrested Manning and Benjamin Alexander Harris after they attempted to buy 20 pounds of marijuana from a Gila County narcotics agent for $7,000, according to a police report.

Harris pleaded guilty to the crime in August and a judge sentenced him to one year in prison and to pay the same $38,640 fine as Manning.

In a presentencing report, Manning asked Superior Court Judge Peter Cahill to take his clean criminal record and positive work in the community into consideration.

“I would like to say to Judge Cahill that I am an honest, hard-working father and husband who for 40 years never made a mistake or did anything illegal,” he said. “I have served my country, paid my taxes, raised and is still raising two children (and) I have always held a full-time job. I do what I can to help people less fortunate.”

Besides having no other arrests, Manning served in the U.S. Army for five years and was honorably discharged.

“The defendant takes full responsibility for his actions in this offense,” wrote Alberta Lancieri, deputy probation officer. “He believes this one negative behavior should not ruin his life.”

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