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Press Release

Heroin Dealer Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Oregon

EUGENE, Ore. – John Christopher Norton, 40, of Eugene, Oregon, was sentenced on July 29, 2013, to 120 months in federal prison after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin.

Norton has a prior criminal history, including convictions for bank robbery and delivery of a controlled substance.   In September 2011, he sold heroin within one week after being released from prison.  Over the next two months, he used his stepson, Cory Beatt, to help him conduct multiple heroin deals in Lane County.   In November 2011, a search warrant led to the discovery of heroin at Norton’s residence.   The investigation determined that he possessed a total of 352 grams of heroin.  

“Sentencing is about accountability and hope,” said U.S. District Court Chief Judge Ann Aiken, who presided over sentencing.  “The damage to the community from people dealing drugs, particularly the quantities involved in this case, needs to be underscored.”   The judge characterized as “unacceptable” Norton’s involvement of a family member in his criminal enterprise and reprimanded him for a text message he sent to Beatt after their arrest.   In the text message, Norton urged Beatt not to cooperate with law enforcement.  

Over twenty of Norton’s supporters showed up in court, spoke out on his behalf, and submitted letters to the court telling of Norton’s sixteen-month sobriety from drugs and alcohol, commitment to mentoring troubled youth and excellent employment record.   Judge Aiken credited Norton with extraordinary rehabilitation and sentenced him to 120 months in prison, less than the 151 months recommended by the government.

Norton’s stepson, Cory Beatt, pleaded guilty and was sentenced today.  Judge Aiken credited Beatt with the time he had already served in prison and sentenced him to no additional prison time.   However, as part of his sentence, Beatt must serve up to 120 days in the Lane County Residential Reentry Center and attend Federal Reentry Court.   

This investigation was conducted by the Eugene Police Department, the Lane County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William “Bud” Fitzgerald.

Updated January 29, 2015