By Garrett Estrada

Ely Times Staff Writer

Heather Dahl was sentenced to a maximum of 12 years in prison after she was found guilty on two counts of sales of methamphetamine on Monday by District Judge Steve Dobrescu. Assistant District Attorney and prosecutor on the case Michael Wheable said during the hearing that meth dealers such as Dahl “poison the community” by distributing the illegal and that he was satisfied with the sentence and hopes it deters others who help the drug spread locally.

“Every dealer and every seller of methamphetamine in this county should know that if they get caught in this community we are going to go after them with the same zeal,” Wheable said.

Dahl was arrested on January 2 on a warrant after she sold methamphetamine to undercover narcotics officers on two separate occasions. In addition to the two counts of selling meth, Dahl could have also been charged with trafficking the drug since she was found with eight grams of meth at the time of her arrest. Dahl had appeared in front of Judge Dobrescu in the past, having tried and failed going through the court’s drug court rehabilitation program.

“You really are one of the tragic figures of meth,” Dobrescu said. “Meth has destroyed your life, but you have a lot of life left in you.”

Dahl’s appointed public defendant Daniel Page presented Dahl as an “extreme addict” with mental health issues that needed treatment more than prison time. Wheable countered that the time for rehabilitation had passed Dahl by after she failed drug court. Furthermore, he argued, that meth in the community affects more than just the users. He pointed to the link between meth and the majority of violent crimes the DA’s office prosecutes against and that Dahl’s two counts of selling the drug only contribute to that.

“The drug problem in our community is like a noxious weed,” Wheable said. “Like a weed, if you just cut off the top, or in this case, just take care of the users, it’s not going to go away. You have to pull it out from the roots and pull the drug use out of our community. Treatment is not for dealers and peddlers, they are the ones that need to be locked in prison.

“I don’t take any pleasure in sending anyone to prison. It is really tragic. Hopefully she will have some long sobering years,” he said.

In the near 300 cases that Wheable has prosecuted in the county, he estimated that 80 percent were drug related and that half of all those had a connection to methamphetamine.