Inmate to serve 3 more months for Suboxone laced postcard

By Juliette Laaka | Jun 26, 2015
Photo by: Maine Department of Corrections Brandon Nelson

Rockland — A 30-year-old Maine State Prison inmate will serve three more months in custody for attempting to distribute Suboxone in the prison after directing a co-defendant to send a postcard that contained five strips of the drug.

Brandon Nelson is serving a six-year sentence imposed in Lincoln County in 2011 for an aggravated trafficking in drugs conviction. He was scheduled to be released in December, but will now serve three more months behind bars for trafficking in prison contraband.

Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Baroody argued for a nine-month sentence, telling the court that drugs in the prison system create an uncontrolled economy that can be dangerous for inmates, their families and prison employees. He said the trafficking of drugs can create debts that put those both inside and outside of the system at risk. Suboxone strips sell for hundreds of dollars each inside the prison, the prosecutor said.

The five strips intercepted by prison staff from the post card did not make it into the prison population, Baroody said.

Defense attorney Jeremy Pratt said this is the first case he has been involved in regarding a misdemeanor trafficking in prison contraband charge. Usually these crimes are felonies, he said.

His client has already had 30 days of good time taken away, and has lost privileges, including being in lock down 23 hours a day for 40 days, as part of the punishment imposed by the prison, Pratt said.

Pratt asked the court to take the 70 days of the punishment by the prison into account and reduce the sentence requested by the state. He asked Judge Susan Sparaco to consider sentencing Nelson to a 15 to 30-day jail term.

Sparaco told Pratt she appreciated his analysis, but said Nelson's prior criminal history was a big concern for her.

Sparaco met the attorneys' requests in the middle, deciding to impose a 90-day jail sentence.

Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at jlaaka@villagesoup.com.

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