Florida duo in Bangor court on drug charges

Posted Nov. 17, 2010, at 9:17 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Two Florida residents accused of sending prescription painkillers through the mail to post office boxes in Waldo County made their first appearances Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Raymond “Andy” Romero, 34, and Vashti Ramcharitar, 30, both of West Melbourne, Fla., were arrested Oct. 15 near the home they shared. They were held without bail in Florida until U.S. Marshals transferred them to Maine earlier this week.

Both are charged with distribution of controlled substances and use of a communication facility to commit a controlled substance offense. Neither entered a plea Wednesday.

Romero agreed to be held without bail pending the outcome of his case. A bail hearing for Ramcharitar, a native of Trinidad who is a permanent resident alien, will be held Friday before U.S. Magistrate Margaret Kravchuk.

The investigation that led to the pair’s arrest began in August in Waldo County, according to court documents. An unidentified man, described as Ramcharitar’s former boyfriend and the father of her child, who lives in Maine, was questioned on Aug. 9 by an agent with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and a postal inspec-tor about drugs being sent to the ex-boyfriend’s Searsport post office box.

Ramcharitar’s ex-boyfriend, according to court documents, told investigators that he had been receiving packages with between 50 and 100 tablets of Percocet, a prescription painkiller, in the mail from Romero and Ramcharitar over the previous few months. Her former boyfriend agreed to help investigators set up a controlled buy from the Florida couple in September.

After a package arrived containing drugs addressed to a post office box in Belfast set up by investigators, law enforcement officers in West Melbourne, Fla., viewed security videos that showed a man matching Romero’s description in the local post office on Sept. 23. The man addressed an Express Mail envelope, then removed a small package from his pants pocket and placed it inside the envelope, before handing it to a postal employee. The package arrived in Belfast two days later, according to court documents.

The unidentified man who cooperated with investigators has not been charged, according to court documents.

If convicted, Romero and Ramcharitar each face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million on the drug distribution charge, and up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for mailing the pills. A conviction also could affect Ramcharitar’s immigration status.

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