St. David man faces marijuana charge

Posted Feb. 26, 2010, at 9:32 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A St. David man has been released on bail after making his first appearance Thursday in U.S. District Court on drug charges.

Dean Pelletier, 53, is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana. He was arrested early Thursday morning after allegedly receiving more than 20 pounds of marijuana Wednesday night.

Pelletier is the younger brother of Michael Pelletier, 58, also of St. David, according to a source familiar with the investigation who asked not to be identified.

The elder Pelletier is serving a life sentence for running a marijuana smuggling ring from the St. John Valley to southern Maine. He was convicted in July 2007 on more than a dozen charges including drug smuggling, money laundering and Social Security fraud after a weeklong jury trial.

Michael Pelletier, who uses a wheelchair as a result of a farm accident when he was 11, is incarcerated at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Federal Correctional Complex. The facility is described on the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Web site as a maximum-security facility with a special section for men serving life sentences.

The younger Pelletier was released Thursday on $5,000 unsecured bail.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Bangor declined to comment on the case. It is the practice of federal prosecutors not to comment on cases until they are concluded.

Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Border Patrol and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency put a Van Buren residence under surveillance Wednesday after receiving information that Dean Pelletier was expecting a shipment of marijuana and pills, according to court documents.

An unidentified man left the Main Street residence about 7:20 p.m. Wednesday wearing a white camouflage outfit and ran across the street in the direction of the St. John River, according to court documents. About 2¼ hours later, an unidentified woman left the house, got into a pickup truck and drove north.

Just two minutes later, she returned with the man who had left the home earlier, according to court documents. He allegedly took something out of the back of the truck and put it in the garage.

About 11 p.m. Wednesday, according to court documents, Dean Pelletier stopped by the house and met with the man, who carried two black garbage bags out of the garage and put them into the bed of Pelletier’s truck. Members of the surveillance team followed Pelletier after he left the house.

Investigators stopped Dean Pelletier for speeding on Morneault Road in Grand Isle, according to court documents. A K-9 dog named Hanno alerted them to the presence of drugs. Marijuana was found in the bags.

Dean Pelletier told police that he had been buying marijuana from the man at the house in Van Buren for about two years on at least 18 occasions. He gave his supplier $20,000 last month and owed him another $20,000, according to court documents.

Dean Pelletier is expected to be indicted by the federal grand jury next month.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

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