Mother, son admit smuggling drugs into Hampshire jail

@ecutts_HG
Published: 1/22/2018 11:34:56 PM

NORTHAMPTON —  A mother and son from Vermont admitted Friday that they planned to smuggle pills and heroin into the Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction early last year.

The incidents occurred between Feb. 16 and March 13, 2017. Using recorded jail calls, police learned that Kevin LaPlaca, 34, with the help of his mother, Helen LaPlaca, 57, both of Wilder, Vermont, and then-girlfriend Jamie Smith, smuggled nine oxycodone pills into the jail and attempted to smuggle heroin into the facility, Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jeremy Bucci explained in Hampshire Superior Court.

After other inmates learned Kevin LaPlaca was able to get pills smuggled in, they began putting pressure on Kevin and his brother Corey to get more, Bucci added.

Kevin and Corey were both serving six-month sentences in the jail at the time of the alleged incidents. Corey has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, conspiracy to violate the controlled substance laws and possession of a drug with intent to deliver to a prisoner or prisoners. Since his arraignment, Corey has been released on bail to a residential treatment program for substance use.

Kevin LaPlaca pleaded guilty to charges of possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate the controlled substance laws and possession of a drug with intent to deliver to a prisoner or prisoners.

Helen LaPlaca pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the controlled substance laws, conspiracy, possession of heroin with intent to distribute and distribution of oxycodone.

Smith was also charged in the case and pleaded not guilty to possession of heroin with intent to distribute, conspiracy, conspiracy to violate the controlled substance laws and distribution of oxycodone.

In court Friday, Helen LaPlaca’s case was continued without a finding of guilty and she was placed on administrative probation for a year. If she completes her year without running afoul of the law, the charges will be dismissed.

In arguing for a guilty finding on Helen’s record, Bucci stated that “no right thinking person” would believe they could smuggle drugs into a jail without a felony conviction.

Helen’s attorney, Marissa Elkins, asked the judge to allow Helen the opportunity to show the court she knows what is needed of her.

“She deserves an opportunity after living an entirely law abiding life of her own to not have her record besmirched by a conviction,” Elkins said.

Elkins said that at the time of the incidents, Helen was supporting her sons through “years-worth of addiction.”

Kevin was sentenced to two years in jail and received credit for 182 days already served. His attorney, David Mintz, told the judge Kevin’s struggles with drugs and alcohol began when he was 16 and asked if the sentencing recommendation were to be adopted that the judge also put in a recommendation to have Kevin be sent to a recovery and wellness center. The judge agreed.

“He’s getting tired of the revolving door he’s been a part of,” Mintz said.

As Kevin was lead out of the courtroom, a woman told him to behave himself.

“I will, for once,” he responded.

Emily Cutts can be reached at ecutts@gazettenet.com.
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