A 25-year-old Joplin man pleaded guilty Monday to a reduced charge in a drug-trafficking case.
Johnny T. Taylor pleaded guilty in Jasper County Circuit Court to a Class B felony count of possession of cocaine with intent to deliver. He had been facing a Class A felony count of first-degree trafficking in drugs, which carries from 10 to 30 years, or up to life, in prison.
Taylor’s plea was part of an agreement with the Jasper County prosecutor’s office that would limit the prison time that he might be assessed to no more than eight years. Circuit Judge Gayle Crane delayed formal action on the plea deal and set Taylor’s sentencing hearing for Aug. 19.
The trafficking charge stemmed from an arrest of Taylor by Joplin police on Feb. 7, 2012. A vehicle he was driving was stopped near Seventh Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, and he was arrested for alleged possession of small amounts of cocaine and marijuana. A search at the city jail turned up 19 grams of cocaine, according to a probable-cause affidavit.
Court records show that Taylor was arrested by Joplin police on a drug-trafficking charge in 2010 when 2.8 grams of cocaine allegedly were found in his possession. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense of unlawful use of drug paraphernalia and received a suspended sentence with a $750 fine in that case.