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January 08. 2013 10:17PM

Man expected to plead guilty to heroin, threatening charges


LUNA 

BRENTWOOD - A man accused of dealing heroin and driving his car at a Salem police sergeant while attempting to dodge an arrest will be sentenced after numerous delays, according to court records.

Wagnel Luna, 30, of Peabody, Mass., is expected to plead guilty on Feb. 14 to charges that he sold heroin to undercover officers and nearly struck police Sgt. Michael Wagner on June 14, 2011.

Luna has been expected to plead guilty in the case at least four times, but the case has been repeatedly delayed with requests to reschedule by the defense.

On Jan. 2, Judge N. William Delker ordered Luna's defense lawyer, William Sullivan Jr., to show why he submitted a request to put off the plea-and-sentencing hearing on New Year's Eve.

Prosecutors say Luna was the target of an undercover drug investigation between May and June 2011, which led to his arrest.

Salem police brokered four transactions with Luna through a confidential informant during the investigation, according to prosecutors.

Luna fled from Salem police after his last alleged drug sale on June 14, indictments say. He nearly struck Salem police Sgt. Michael Wagner, who was directing traffic at the intersection of Brady Avenue and Lowell Road and attempted to stop the car, prosecutors said.

A high-speed chase ended over the state line in Dracut, Mass., where Luna bailed out of his car and fled into the woods, police said. He was tracked down and apprehended by a police dog and its handler.

Luna is expected to plead guilty to charges of sale of a controlled drug, conspiracy to sale of a controlled drug and two counts of criminal threatening, according to court papers.

The plea deal calls for Luna entering what's called a "naked plea," leaving it up to a judge what the appropriate sentence should be. Prosecutors will have a chance to argue for county jail or prison time.

The drug charges are punishable by up to 3½ to 7 years in state prison and a $4,000 fine.

jkimble@newstote.com


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