June 28, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 151

Rossi pleads guilty to possession from 2011 arrest

HURLEY — A Hurley businessman pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to deliver narcotics as part of a plea agreement Thursday in Iron County Court and he'll be on probation for two years.

Daniel F. Rossi, 52, owner and operator of Rossi Wear on Silver Street, and his attorney, Anthony Stella, reached a plea agreement with special prosecuting attorney Susan Sommer, of Phelps, Wis.

Originally, Rossi had also been charged with one count of manufacture or deliver of schedule I and II narcotics and one count of possession with intent to deliver prescriptions. As part of the plea agreement, the other two charges were dropped.

According to Sommer, the plea agreement requires that Rossi will have a withheld sentence for the one count and will be placed on probation for two years.

Sommer said the reason for the probation is because under his bond, Rossi was under probation-like restrictions since he was arrested in 2011.

"He has followed the straight and narrow path for the past two years, and another two will help keep him on track," Sommer said. "He has two years to prove that he can do it."

If Rossi disobeys the requirements of his probation, he will have to come back to court to be sentenced. The maximum sentence is 15 years in state prison and/or a $50,000 fine. The count is a class E felony.

A jury trial had been scheduled for June 26-27 before the plea bargain was reached.

Charges were filed on July 18, 2011, after Hurley police raided Rossi's clothing store, seizing computer equipment. Police also used an informant who said he had been involved in illegally obtaining prescription narcotics from Rossi to stage a drug transaction, according to the criminal complaint.

"I believe that this is a fair sentence," Rossi told acting Judge Ann Knox-Bauer during the hearing. "I have basically been on probation for the past two years and I have bettered my life and learned from my mistakes. I apologize to my friends, family, customers and the police department. I have learned from my mistakes."

Knox-Bauer accepted the plea agreement and required Rossi take part in an alcohol and drug assessment to "solidify sobriety.

"You have been given a break and I hope that you don't squander it," Knox-Bauer said. "I don't want to see you back here."