Woman receives six to 25 years for drug charges

HOLLIDAYSBURG – An Altoona woman with a history of helping distribute heroin and cocaine was sentenced Friday to the State Correctional Institution at Muncy for a minimum of six years after she entered guilty pleas to nine charges.

Lacey Lee Harber, 26, tearfully apologized to Blair County Judge Elizabeth Doyle, who replied, “You are a very young person,” making the point that Harber still had time to be with her family and to live a full life.

Harber, as the judge pointed out, probably was not happy with the plea agreement negotiated between her attorney, Mark Zearfaus, and Assistant District Attorney Peter Weeks.

But Harber admitted during her give-and-take with the judge that her sentence could have been “worse.”

Harber was sentenced to a minimum of six years and a maximum of 25 years for drug charges that date back to 2010.

Harber pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy, one count of criminal attempt to distribute heroin and six charges of possession with intent to deliver.

Doyle questioned Harber while reviewing a guilty plea colloquy she filled out.

One question was if she were satisfied with her attorney, to which Harber answered, “I guess.”

Doyle followed that up by asking Harber, “Do you think you could get a better deal than this?”

“No, it would be worse,” she stated.

Harber was specifically asked if she felt coerced to plead guilty. She answered, “No.”

The criminal information filed against Harber showed she helped several different males deliver drugs.

Included in that list was a man nicknamed “Juice.”

Juice is the name used by Hugo Baez of New York. Baez is awaiting trial on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of Willie Solomon, who was shot to death at Choices Night Club last Halloween.

Weeks said that Harber is not eligible for a state prison program that leads to a reduced minimum sentence as a reward for participating in several rehabilitation programs because she has a record of simple assault.