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Drug dealer receives 18-year-prison term

A Philadelphia man who pled guilty to being part of a heroin distribution ring in the area was sentenced Friday in U.S. Middle District Court to 18 years in federal prison.

Eric Jackson, 39, told Judge Matthew Brann he was sorry for his criminal past and is now a changed man.

“I made some mistakes. I’m not proud of them, not one bit,” Jackson said.

He was charged with selling heroin during a three-year period in Lycoming County and across a region that stretched along the Interstate 80 corridor to southern New Jersey.

Jackson’s attorney, Eugene Tinari noted the defendant is now the father of a three-year-old daughter with a work history that includes photography, film production and other employment.

“Eric Jackson grew up without a dad,” Tinari told the court. “It’s important because an individual who comes from these circumstances doesn’t have the benefit of a father figure.”

His father, Tinari noted, was a crack cocaine dealer.

He said while Jackson’s background and upbringing don’t excuse his criminal acts, it does perhaps explain his situation.

Any sentence he would receive, he said, would take him away from his family.

Also appearing in court was Jackson’s mother, Christine Jackson, who noted his work history and education.

“Sometimes people do crazy things in their lives,” she said.

But people do change, she said, and the birth of his daughter certainly changed her son’s life

In sentencing Jackson, Brann said he had to take into account Jackson’s past criminal history which has included armed robbery and other arrests.

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