Federal court: Local man sentenced to 12 years for guns and drugs

A local man will be 40 years old before he again can hold his now 2-year-old son. U.S. Judge Matthew W. Brann told 28-year-old Dominique D. Lassiter that sobering news after sentencing him to 12 years in federal prison Wednesday.

Lassiter, of Williamsport, was arrested in 2016 after selling heroin to a confidential informant in the city. When police searched Lassiter’s home, they found three guns, including a 9mm pistol under his pillow, heroin and cocaine, and items used in drug trafficking.

Lassiter pleaded guilty to three counts of distributing heroin and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Wednesday’s sentencing in U.S. Middle District Court was Lassiter’s fourth drug-related conviction but was the first crime for which he served time in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey MacArthur said Lassiter’s actions were that of a career offender and that he had enough chances to turn around after being given three breaks for convictions he had when he lived in Philadelphia.

“The offenses he committed are squarely in the definitions of a career offender,” MacArthur said. “He was given numerous chances in Philadelphia. The defendant doesn’t show any respect for the law.”

The defendant’s attorney, John Reed, told the court he felt that the previous convictions of selling marijuana, crack cocaine and heroin were comparatively lesser than the charges Lassiter had pleaded to, and asked to have the punishment reduced.

“I am asking the court to consider a lesser sentence,” Reed said. “This young man, despite his upbringing, is earnest and intelligent as far as reading the law.”

MacArthur disagreed with the defense, saying Lassiter had continued the same habits he had in Philadelphia and had collected his three firearms to protect his operation.

“He continues to sell drugs for a living,” MacArthur said. “He moved to Williamsport where he sells drugs … He used the gun for protecting his cash, drugs and operation.”

Lassiter’s girlfriend and his two children attended the hearing, which Brann said was rare.

“Many times there’s no one in the courtroom for the defendant,” Brann said, adding that Lassiter has made decisions that will keep him from being a father to his two young kids.

Along with his sentencing of 144 months in federal prison, Lassiter was given a $900 fine and six years of probation. Lassiter said he was remorseful for what he has done, then had the opportunity to see his family.

“I would like to apologize for my actions to my family and my children,” Lassiter said. “I’d like to apologize to you for being in front of you today.”