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Defiance man sentenced for drugs

McFarland remains free pending appeal

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A Bedford County man convicted in February of criminal charges linked to buying ingredients for a meth lab in Altoona has been ordered to spend three to 24 months in prison.

Jeffrey D. McFarland, 59, of Defiance can remain free on bail pending appeal, as long as the anticipated appeal is filed, Judge Daniel J. Milliron said Monday.

If no appeal is filed, then McFarland is to report to Blair County Prison where he will await transfer to a state prison, the judge said.

McFarland, who offered no comments before being sentenced, depended on defense attorney Karen E. Kuebler to challenge Assistant District Attorney Katelyn Hoover’s request for two years incarceration, as mandated for those convicted of manufacturing meth.

Kuebler said that mandate doesn’t apply to McFarland because he was convicted of manufacturing, delivery or possession with intent to deliver and criminal conspiracy to manufacture, deliver or possession with intent to deliver.

The verdict wasn’t specific, so McFarland’s offense may have had nothing to do with manufacturing meth, the defense attorney said. She supported her position by pointing out that the jury acquitted her client of operating a meth lab and possession of precursor substances to make meth.

Milliron acknowledged the distinction and said he wouldn’t apply the mandate.

Instead, the judge said he would follow state standard range guidelines, which led to the sentence with three- to 24-months incarceration, followed by two years of probation.

Milliron also spoke Monday of having McFarland immediately report to prison. Kuebler asked for that action to be delayed because of the pending appeal, McFarland’s health issues and his posted $25,000 cash bail.

The appeal, Kuebler said, will focus on the introduction during trial of logs showing McFarland’s multiple purchases of cold and sinus medication. During trial, Kuebler challenged the accuracy of the purchase records and introducing them at trial. Milliron permitted the logs to be introduced, and a police investigator spoke about them while testifying.

Altoona police filed criminal charges in May 2018 against McFarland and his brother, Randolph McFarland, 60, of Hopewell about two months after finding them inside a residence at 2827 Pine Ave.

Sheriff deputies went to the residence with an arrest warrant for Shawn Amick, who lived at the house with Mary Blackie.

With the help of Altoona police, deputies secured entry and arrested Amick on unrelated charges.

After noticing the meth-making materials, police arrested Blackie and took the McFarland brothers into custody. While the McFarlands were initially released, they were arrested later after police collected records showing each making purchases and attempted purchases of cold/sinus medication with pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in meth production.

Sentencing is still pending for Randolph McFarland, who was tried with his brother in February and convicted of the same charges. Randolph McFarland is represented by attorney Justin Miller.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.

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