2 for 1: Plea cancels trials on drug charges

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Breon Garner is seen with his attorney David Gemignani at his plea hearing in Houghton County Circuit Court Wednesday. Garner pleaded no contest to a Baraga County drug charge.

HOUGHTON — A Detroit man reached a plea agreement in 12th Circuit Court Wednesday that could potentially avoid trials on drug charges in Baraga and Houghton counties.

Breon Garner, 26, pleaded no contest in Baraga County Circuit Court to delivery of less than 50 grams of a substance containing heroin, a 20-year felony. In exchange, an identical heroin charge in Houghton County will be dropped. Houghton County Prosecutor Michael Makinen said he also would not bring charges for Garner’s possession of a firearm.

Garner’s attorney, David Gemignani, said the no contest plea was made because Garner was intoxicated at the time and to avoid the potential for civil liabilities due to the untaxed financial transaction.

Gemignani said he anticipated a minimum guideline range of 0 to 17 months. He said Garner might pull out of the plea agreement if the guidelines indicate a longer sentence.

Baraga County Prosecutor Joseph O’Leary said he would welcome the chance to bring the case to trial if necessary, saying Garner got “a sweetheart of a deal.”

According to a police report used as the factual basis for the plea, police set up a controlled buy with Garner through a confidential informant in March at the Ojibwa Casino. An officer in an undercover vehicle witnessed the transaction.

Garner was also arrested in March as one of four people involved in a heroin bust in Lake Linden.

Sentencing is scheduled in approximately four weeks.