- Associated Press - Thursday, December 3, 2015

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - A federal judge has sentenced a single mother of four for dealing drugs.

The former pharmacy technician at the Rite Aid in D’Iberville will serve five months in prison and five months under house arrest.

The Sun Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1IFEtkj ) 25-year-old Patricia Maria Leavens pleaded guilty in June for conspiring to distribute more than 15,000 doses of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and the painkiller hydrocodone.

U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden on Monday also ordered Leavens to serve two years under supervised release, with five months under house arrest, and pay a $2,000 fine. Leavens had pleaded guilty in June to a charge of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance outside the scope of a medical practice.

A loss-prevention manager at the D’Iberville pharmacy reported her suspicion that Leavens was altering prescriptions to obtain the medications.

A couple of letters were submitted to the judge on her behalf prior to sentencing.

“Patricia’s life revolves around her kids,” her colleague Regina Franklin wrote. “Patricia helps kids in the neighborhood that are less fortunate than she is even when she does not have it to give herself.”

Franklin said she and Leavens had worked together as substitute teachers and volunteered on their children’s basketball teams. Another woman, Cynthia McAllister, described Leavens as “dedicated” substitute teacher and said, “because she was such a good substitute teacher, we instantly thought of her when we had a long-term substitute need.”

Her attorney, John Weber, was hoping Leavens would only serve time under house arrest.

The judge agreed to allow Leavens to remain out of prison on bond pending her federal prison designation.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com

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