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Teen Admits Cocaine Sale Near School, Faces 60-Year Term, Fine

July 22, 1987|KIM MURPHY | Times Staff Writer

A Northridge teen-ager pleaded guilty Tuesday to selling 4.8 grams of cocaine to an undercover police officer. The youth faces up to 60 years in prison and a $3-million fine because the drug trafficking occurred near a school.

Michael Enders Jr., 19, wept quietly as U.S. District Judge William D. Keller ordered him detained at a residential drug treatment center pending sentencing on Aug. 26.

Penalties Doubled

Enders' 18-year-old accomplice, Laina Eileen Cormack of Reseda, faces a potential 40 years in prison and a $2-million fine for her guilty plea in what federal prosecutor Thomas K. Buck acknowledged was a relatively minor cocaine transaction.

The two teen-agers were charged under a new federal law that doubles the maximum penalties for selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, although only Enders entered a guilty plea under the new statute.

"I don't know what kind of a job you've done, Mr. Buck, of letting the public know that the statute has teeth and people are going to go to jail for a long time," Keller said of the legislation signed into law last October, which also provides for a minimum one-year prison term for a schoolyard offense.

Enders pleaded guilty to one count of selling 1.8 grams of cocaine on April 14 at Cormack's home, across the street from Diane S. Leichman High School, a facility for the disabled.

He also admitted to a second count of selling three grams on May 1. Both sales were to an undercover police officer enrolled as a student at Birmingham High School.

Cormack pleaded guilty to two transactions involving a total of 6.5 grams of cocaine.

A third defendant in the case, Donald Pease, 21, of Sepulveda, pleaded guilty earlier this week to a narcotics conspiracy charge.

Enders' attorney, Jeffrey Weiss, called the schoolyard law a "harsh burden" because of the statute's tough sentencing provisions and because so few are aware of the law.

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