A judge told a heroin dealer before sentencing on Friday that he was contributor to what's destroying LaPorte.
''The crime you committed is viewed as major by this court. Heroin is destroying this community. You are a participant in this process,'' said LaPorte Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos.
He handed an eight year prison sentence to Daniel Castro, which was the maximum amount of time behind bars allowed under a sentencing cap contained in a plea agreement convicting Castro of Class B felony dealing in a schedule I substance.
Castro must also serve three years probation.
He was given the option of asking for a reduced sentence but not until after he completes all of the recommended substance abuse programs.
''It'll be up to you Mr. Castro if you get modified to a better situation,'' said Alevizos.
According to court documents, the 24 year old Castro was caught selling heroin from his Jefferson St. home in La Porte on two separate occasions in March of 2010. Police in Michigan City and federal agents were also involved in the investigation due to the alleged extent of his heroin dealing, which often stretched into Michigan City, court documents revealed.
Prior to sentencing, Castro asked the court for leniency to provide him a second chance at restoring his life. Courtroom testimony indicated that Castro was union tradesman who lost his job due to his abuse of heroin and other drugs.
''I am ready to be that man and accept responsibility. I am ready to change. I'm just asking you for that chance,'' Castro said.
His attorney, David Newman of South Bend, was asking for a three year prison sentence following by three years in community corrections to help in his transition back to society.
LaPorte County Deputy Prosecutor Chris Fronk recommended an eight year prison sentence and four years probation. Fronk said Castro was already given a break when prosecutors agreed to dismiss the original heroin dealing counts, which were Class A felonies punishable by a 20 to 50 year sentence apiece.