Courts & Crime

Levi Johnston's mom sentenced to 3 years in drug case

Sherry Johnston was sentenced Friday to three years in prison for dealing OxyContin.

Johnston, 43, is the mother of Levi Johnston, who is the father of former Gov. Sarah Palin's grandchild, Tripp.

Johnston, who lives in Wasilla, made a deal with prosecutors in August to plead to a single felony count in exchange for dropping the other five felony drug dealing charges against her. The deal called for her to be sentenced to three years of prison time plus three years of probation, which is what the judge gave her.

Johnston will serve her sentence at Alaska's only female prison, Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in Eagle River. She has been at Hiland since she pleaded guilty.

Johnston was charged in December 2008 with dealing the prescription painkiller OxyContin, a popular and highly addictive recreational drug. Police say she received the pills in the mail then sold 10 to a police informant three different times in October and November 2008. The drug dealings took place via cell and text messages with rendezvous in the parking lots of Fred Meyer and Target.

Johnston's lawyer, Anchorage attorney Rex Butler, in a phone interview after the sentencing called Johnston "a poster child for healthcare reform." He said his client was only selling the drugs to get enough money to pay for other pain medications that her insurance company denied her. He would not identify her insurance company. Johnston has said she suffers from chronic pelvic pain stemming from past surgeries.