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NEVADA MAN GETS 33 MONTHS FOR POSSESSION

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A Utah federal judge last week sentenced a 30-year-old Nevada man to nearly three years in prison on his guilty plea to possession of about 8 ounces of cocaine with intent to distribute the drug.

"You have a debt to pay society," Judge Thomas Greene told John Francis Mannion in sentencing the defendant to 33 months in prison and ordering him to perform 300 hours community service in lieu of a fine.But saying he had "a good feeling" about Mannion, Greene allowed the Las Vegas resident to self-surrender Jan. 2, 1990, at a minimum-security prison.

"My getting arrested was a blessing in disguise," Mannion told the judge, explaining he was addicted to cocaine. "That's what it took to turn my life around."

A federal grand jury indicted Mannion on Dec. 7, 1988, accusing him of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and using a weapon in a drug trafficking crime.

U.S. Attorney for Utah Dee Benson said the weapons violation was dismissed "because the facts weren't there to support it."