Figure In Priest/Meth Case Asks For Reduced Sentence

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ A man who helped a priest sell methamphetamine is seeking a reduced sentence, citing his poor health and saying the priest was the driving force behind the drug sales.

Kenneth DeVries, of Waterbury, pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He’s scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Hartford.

DeVries, who’s been locked up since January, faces about three to four years in prison under guidelines but is seeking a sentence of time served. He said he looked up to Monsignor Kevin Wallin, dubbed Monsignor Meth by some media outlets, as a religious leader and as someone who was supposed to help him.

DeVries has prostate cancer, which has spread throughout this body, and is suffering from full-blown AIDS, his attorney said in court papers. He also has a significant history of substance abuse including using meth every day during his involvement in the case, said the attorney, Joseph Patten Brown.

“I submit it can be safely assumed with his education, responsibility and experience with people that Monsignor Wallin was able to take advantage of Mr. DeVries quite easily and recruited him to his drug enterprise,” Brown wrote.

Wallin was the pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Bridgeport for nine years. He resigned in June 2011, citing health and personal reasons. He was suspended from public ministry last year. He pleaded guilty to a drug charge in April and faces 11 to 14 years in prison.

DeVries’ role was limited to selling meth, at Wallin’s direction, when Wallin was unavailable, according to prosecutors, who said “some accommodation” for DeVries might be appropriate.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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