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Friday, March 2, 2012

Nashua man goes to prison for selling cocaine to police informant

NASHUA – Michael Lawruk has served prison time before, but never for as long as the sentence he received Thursday.

“It seems obvious to me you’re doing life (in prison) on the installment plan,” Judge Jacalyn Colburn told Lawruk, who stood in Hillsborough County Superior Court in an orange jail jumpsuit.

In a plea deal cut between prosecutors and Lawruk’s public defender, the Nashua man will serve 3 1⁄ 2 to seven years in state prison on various drug and traffic charges.

Lawruk, 53, pleaded guilty in Hillsborough County Superior Court to selling cocaine to a police informant on four occasions in October; possessing cocaine with the intent to sell in May, and driving a car as a habitual traffic offender last March.

He was sentenced for selling cocaine. Lawruk also received a concurrent sentence of two to five years for the habitual offender offense, and a consecutive, suspended sentence for the possession with intent to sell charge.

Lawruk was ordered to pay fines and restitution to the Nashua Police Department for the money the informant used to buy the cocaine.

Lawruk is a drug addict with a criminal record dating back to 1978, said the prosecutor, Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Charlene Dulac.

His longest previous prison sentence was two to four years, Dulac said.

The 128 days Lawruk has spent in the Valley Street jail in Manchester since his arrest in October will be credited toward his sentence.

Colburn denied the request of Lawruk’s attorney, Rebecca McKinnon, to recommend that her client spend six months of the sentence in a drug treatment program.

Lawruk probably could benefit from such a program, Colburn said. However, New Hampshire judges recently were advised not to recommend treatment in imposing sentences, she said.

Under a new policy, New Hampshire State Prison evaluates prisoners and decides which inmates would benefit from drug addiction, sex offender or other types of treatment programs, Colburn said.

Patrick Meighan can be reached at 594-6518 or pmeighan@nashuatelegraph.com.