April 24, 2018
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Canadian trucker sentenced for drug smuggling

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — A Canadian long-haul trucker was sentenced Friday to three years and seven months in federal prison for smuggling more than 2,000 methamphetamine pills and 80 oxycodone pills into the U.S.

Anthony Black, 38, of Perth, New Brunswick, was arrested last September at the Fort Fairfield port of entry.

The pills were found duct-taped and hidden inside plastic bottles under his front bumper. He apparently tried to fool drug-sniffing dogs by packing the pills in baby powder and coffee grounds, according to court documents.

In addition to prison time, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock sentenced Black to three years of supervised release. He is unlikely to serve that, the judge said, because Black is expected to be deported after completing his prison term and banned from re-entering the U.S.

Black told investigators that he became addicted to methamphetamine pills in 2007 in order to stay awake on long hauls, according to court documents. When he was laid off from his job in early 2009, he began smuggling the drug into Maine.

Woodcock said during the sentencing that Black had admitted to investigators that he made at least 10 smuggling trips through the Fort Fairfield port of entry and was paid about $10,000 per trip before he was caught.

“Methamphetamine is a wicked drug,” the judge said, “and the court is concerned of its potential to impact Maine the way it has impacted people in other parts of the country. It is among the most addictive drugs there is.”

The drug has gained the kind of widespread use in rural areas of other states that oxycodone has in northern and Down East Maine, he said.

Black wept as he read a statement apologizing for his crime. His wife, parents and other family members also cried as they sat behind him. They submitted letters to the judge but were too emotional to speak Friday, defense attorney Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor told Woodcock.

“I hope I have not harmed anyone else the way I have harmed myself,” Black said.

Under the federal sentencing guidelines, Black faced between sevens years and five months and nine years in prison. He also could have been ordered to pay a fine of between $15,000 and $4 million.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey, who prosecuted the case, recommended that Black’s sentence be reduced significantly because the defendant had no criminal history, pleaded guilty rather than going to trial and immediately cooperated with investigators and told them all he knew.

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