Jury returns guilty verdicts in drug trial

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IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) - The verdict is in for the Crystal Falls man accused of selling heroin in Iron Mountain. After deliberating for more than six hours, the jury found 36-year-old Paul Dwayne Scott guilty on both counts.

Scott was arrested in March after he and his girlfriend Heather Brazeika allegedly sold two packets of heroin to a police informant.

Wednesday morning, jurors heard closing arguments from both the prosecution and defense. Before they were handed the case, Scott's defense attorney told jurors that the entire case hinged on the word of an informant, who is a recovering drug addict and is not credible.

"He came clean and said, 'You know, I lied at a previous hearing, and I testified under oath that I did not use.' Now today, or the other day...yesterday, he came in and said 'Well, actually, I was lying...I did,'" defense attorney Grant Carlson said. "That's the individual that's the centerpiece of this whole puzzle that the prosecution is trying to paint."

In his testimony, the informant claimed to have worked with the KIND Drug Team to setup the two controlled buys, and purchase the heroin with marked money. However, the defense claimed the exchange of money was because the informant was paying off a debt owed to Scott.

In his closing, Scott's attorney stated the informant duped the police and could've had the heroin taped to his underwear with the intention of framing Scott, so drug charges against him would be dropped.

Officers who testified throughout the trial admitted that a strip search of the informant was not done prior to the controlled buys, but a thorough search was completed and no narcotics were found on the informant.

"The officers believed it, hook, line and sinker, but they never checked. Is blind trust really trust at all?" Carlson asked the jury. "The people would have you believe that, Mr. Pietrantonio would have you believe that but, as he was squirming away up there, I think he was a little uncomfortable because the ruse is up."

The prosecutor, on the other hand, made it clear the drug team the informant worked with is made up of seasoned detectives who have successfully handled controlled buys for years.

"To believe the defense, you have to believe that a 20 year old has outsmarted, oh, about 80 years of law enforcement experience," Dickinson County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kristin Kass said. "You'd have to believe that Heather Brazeika pled guilty to delivery of heroin, because she wanted to go home. You'd have to believe that all of the testimony of the officers saying, 'This was going to happen, and it did. We were told this was going to happen, and it did,' was a hoax," Kass continued. "You'd have to believe that when the defendant is being interviewed by police as to whether or not he sold drugs, he went with the flow and agreed, 'I sell drugs'?"

Scott was arrested four days after the last purchase. In court Tuesday, it was also made clear that of the possibly incriminating items found on Scott during his arrest, neither the marked buy money nor the heroin were among them.

Scott was found guilty of two counts of delivery of heroin. As a habitual offender, he faces a maximum penalty of up to life in prison.

His sentencing has been scheduled for October 16.

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