BANGOR — A St. David man found out that he could run but not hide from federal drug charges.
Ben Dionne, 29, is back in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service after fleeing to Canada nearly two years ago.
Dionne, who has dual citizenship, was extradited to the U.S. earlier this year. He was turned over to American authorities Monday in Madawaska, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
He is charged with conspiracy to possess marijuana with the intent to distribute and failure to appear in U.S. District Court in Bangor. Dionne was one of six men indicted by a federal grand jury two years ago for allegedly being part of a marijuana smuggling and distribution ring that stretched from the St. John Valley to Portland.
Dionne was released on Sept. 12, 2006, on $5,000 unsecured bail after pleading not guilty to the drug charge in federal court in Bangor. He failed to stay in touch with U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services and a warrant was issued for his arrest two weeks later, according to court documents.
In November 2006, a grand jury indicted him on a new charge — failure to appear.
Dionne is scheduled to be arraigned on that charge Monday. A federal judge also will hear a motion to revoke his bail on the drug charge and hold him without bail until his case is resolved.
If convicted, he faces a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in federal prison. Dionne also could be fined up to $4 million on the drug charge. He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the failure-to-appear charge.
All but one of Dionne’s alleged co-conspirators have been convicted.
John “Scooch” or “Scoochy” Pascuccui, 50, of Gorham also pleaded not guilty to drug conspiracy. He and Dionne are not scheduled to be tried until after the first of the year.
Michael Pelletier, 57, of St. David was sentenced in January to 20 years in prison after being found guilty in July 2007 of drug smuggling, money laundering and Social Security fraud. Michael Easler, 28, of St. David was sentenced in August 2007 to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to similar drug and money laundering charges.
Raymond “Rocky” Fogg, 56, of Winn and Anthony Caparotta, 43, of Caribou were found guilty in June of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana. The jury also found Fogg guilty of Social Security fraud.
Both men face between 10 years and life in federal prison. Their sentencing dates have not been set.