BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A New York woman who enlisted generations of family members in a drug-dealing operation she ran for a dozen years was sentenced Tuesday to 15 1/2 years in prison.
Theresa Anderson, 57, pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine.
In U.S. District Court, she choked up as her attorney read a letter she wrote to Judge Richard Arcara in which she described being "consumed by addiction."
"I have been using drugs since I was 14 years old," the letter said. "My poor choices were a way for me to finance my own addiction."
Prosecutors said the grandmother oversaw an around-the-clock operation in which crack cocaine was sold from several houses she purchased on two city streets to ensure a monopoly in the area.
She was arrested in February 2012 along with her common-law husband, son, three adult daughters, two of the daughters' boyfriends, and a granddaughter. All have since pleaded guilty to drug charges.
"This defendant not only destroyed her own family by leading them into a life of illegal narcotics trafficking, she also damaged the neighborhood where the drug trafficking took place," U.S. Attorney William Hochul said.
The government has seized more than $50,000 and nine houses used by the organization, Hochul's office said.
In sentencing papers, defense attorney Robert Ross Fogg said Anderson was addicted to alcohol, heroin, cocaine, crack, methamphetamine and prescription drugs while running her business.
"These drugs and drug contacts became more available each time she participated in drug counseling," said the attorney, who blamed Anderson's addiction for a criminal record dating to 1975, when she was 19.
"Your honor, I am not a bad person," Anderson wrote in her letter. "I have a good heart."