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Drug Ring King Sentenced to Cedar Junction

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Ronnell Garmie, who killed a North Adams man in 2008, has been sentenced to prison on drug charges.

Garmie, of Bronx, N.Y., pleaded guilty on Thursday afternoon in Berkshire Superior Court in Pittsfield to single counts of cocaine trafficking and consipiracy to violate drug laws (distribution of cocaine). Judge Daniel Ford sentenced the 21-year-old Garmie to five to 5 1/2 years at Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the trafficking charge and a concurrent prison sentence on the conspiracy charge.

The charges stem from the night of Aug. 20, 2008, when authorities believe Walter tried to steal cocaine from a residence at Wheel Estates Mobile Home Park at which Garmie was staying. Garmie stabbed Walter during a scuffle at a residence; Walter, 24, was found by police on a neighboring lawn suffering from multiple stab wounds. He was transported to North Adams Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A grand jury declined to indict Garmie on charges related to the slaying. However, the investigation into the death resulted in the breakup of a drug ring operating out of the city.

Garmie was indicted on multiple drug charges and held on $100,000 bail; eight others were arraigned on a variety charges.

Garmie was found to have possessed more than 28 grams of cocaine on the night of Aug. 20, 2008. He also conspired with other others to sell cocaine in North Adams between Aug. 1, 2008, and Aug. 20, 2008. 

One suspect, Shelly L. Nichlen, then 30, pleaded guilty last March to single counts of furnishing misleading information to a police officer related to aiding Garmie to flee the scene. At the same court appearance, she pleaded guilty to single counts of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, larceny of more than $250 and misleading a police officer in connection with a robbery at Cumberland Farms on Dec. 2, 2007. Nichlen also pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws and violating a drug-free school zone from motor vehicle stop in North Adams in April 2008. 

She was ordered to serve concurrent four- to five-year state prison sentences in Walpole.

Walter's mother, Constance Pratt, who drove him to the scene, was placed on probation.

The owner of the mobile home, Tina Senecal, 54, pleaded guilty on Feb. 3, 2011, in Berkshire Superior Court to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws (distribution of cocaine). She admitted to selling cocaine in North Adams between Aug. 1 and Aug. 20, 2008. 

Judge John Agostini gave her a suspended 18-month sentence in the Berkshire County House of Correction on the possession charge and two years' probation on both charges on the condition she remain drug and alcohol free and undergo testing during the probationary period. A count of furnishing misleading information to a police officer was dismissed at the request of the commonwealth.

Garmie was found to have possessed more than 28 grams of cocaine on the night of Aug. 20, 2008. He also conspired with other others to sell cocaine in North Adams between Aug. 1, 2008, and Aug. 20, 2008. 

The investigation was conducted by members of the North Adams Police Department and state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office.

Updated on Feb. 3, 2011, to insert Senecal's sentencing.

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Tags: drugs, Garmie, stabbing      

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