TOMS RIVER — A former Ocean County juvenile justice officer who pleaded guilty to drug charges will now be behind bars.

Erica Kotelnicki was sentenced Friday to six months in jail.

The 35-year-old Berkeley resident had sought entry into a pretrial intervention program that could have allowed her to avoid the jail sentence and criminal record. But Ocean County prosecutors opposed her request and a judge rejected her bid to overturn that decision, ruling last month that prosecutors didn't abuse their discretion.

Kotelnicki pleaded guilty earlier this year to possession of heroin with the intent to distribute. She was off-duty when she was arrested in a pharmacy parking lot, and authorities say more drugs were found at her home.

She was suspended without pay after her arrest and has since resigned.

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