Sentence Deferred In New Martinsville Veteran’s Drug Case

MOUNDSVILLE — A local veteran who admitted to dealing heroin while battling addiction received a second chance Friday.

Casey Mask, 31, of New Martinsville, appeared before Judge Jeffrey Cramer in Marshall County Circuit Court for sentencing on charges of delivery of a controlled substance, transportation of a controlled substance and conspiracy.

However, Cramer opted to defer sentencing and ordered Mask to be evaluated through the drug court program.

During Friday’s hearing, Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Canestraro said Mask served two tours in Afghanistan and attended Ohio State University before becoming involved with drugs.

“At one point in time in the past, she was a productive member of society. … When she got out of the Army, something went wrong,” Canestraro said.

Defense attorney Kevin Neiswonger said Mask became addicted to heroin after she was prescribed medication for an injury sustained overseas.

“What went wrong is that her vehicle hit a bomb in Afghanistan, where two other soldiers were killed and she was injured,” Neiswonger said. “She was getting prescriptions for 120 Percocets at a time and starting taking them. When she was discharged from the military, heroin was cheaper than painkillers.”

Mask told Cramer she understood the seriousness of the charges against her.

“I’m embarrassed. I was not raised like this and I trained soldiers not to be like this, but I have failed miserably,” Mask said. “I want a shot, obviously, but I understand the repercussions, too.”

Cramer ordered Mask placed under supervised release during her drug court evaluation.

“The court appreciates what you have done for this country and that’s the only reason why I’m going to defer sentencing, at least for the time being until I know what my options are,” Cramer said. “You are to be evaluated through the drug court program and will be drug-tested today.”

Mask was arrested in February and indicted by a grand jury in March. According to a criminal complaint, Moundsville police were investigating suspicious behavior in the Moundsville Wal-Mart parking lot when they discovered a man passed out in his car with needles still in his hand and a measuring spoon in his lap.

Police were then informed that a woman, identified as Mask, was walking around the parking lot and appeared to be under the influence of something. Officers allegedly found at the man’s feet two stamp bags of heroin, as well as a second syringe.

At that time, police noticed two women matching the description of the initial call leaving the store, and detained them. A total of 90 bags of heroin were recovered during a search of one of the women. In interviews with police, Mask allegedly told officers she purchased the heroin from out of state.