Woman pleads guilty in pill-mailing scheme

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted April 13, 2011, at 7:13 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A woman from Trinidad pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to drug charges. Vashti Ramcharitar, 31, of West Melbourne, Fla., admitted that she was part of a conspiracy to mail prescription painkillers to post office boxes in Waldo County.

Her co-defendant, Raymond “Andy” Romero, 34, of West Melbourne, Fla., pleaded guilty in February to the same charge — conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance.

Their sentencing dates have not been set.

The two were arrested on Oct. 10, 2010, near the home they shared. Both have been held without bail since then.

Ramcharitar, a native of Trinidad who is a permanent resident alien in the U.S., told U.S. District Judge John Woodcock on Wednesday that she recently had given birth.

Romero is the father of the child, according to court documents.

Ramcharitar’s attorney, Ronald Bourget of Augusta, said after Wednesday’s brief hearing that the baby was living with his client’s family in Florida. Information about when

Ramcharitar gave birth was not available but the baby was delivered at Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft.

“It’s unfortunate that she was in jail for half of her pregnancy and had to give birth while incarcerated,” Bourget said after his client entered her guilty plea.

A third person, Shannon Clark, 33, of Searsport, also has been indicted for being part of the conspiracy.

Clark, who has pleaded not guilty, is free on personal recognizance bail but is scheduled to change her plea to guilty later this month.

The investigation that led to the trio’s arrest began in August in Waldo County, according to the prosecution’s version of events, to which Romero pleaded guilty. Local law enforcement officials set up a controlled buy of the prescription painkiller oxycodone from Clark in July.

After being charged in state court with unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs, Clark and her boyfriend, Marc Reaves, 33, of Searsport, admitted they had been receiving prescription pills from his ex-girlfriend, Ramcharitar, and Romero. The Florida couple obtained the pills from a doctor’s office in that state that accepted only cash, according to court documents.

Reaves told investigators that he entered into the scheme so that Ramcharitar would have money to support their child, who lived with her mother in Florida, and so the mother would agree to allow the girl to come to Maine.

According to court documents, Reaves and Clark would receive a package sent from Florida by Priority Mail at Clark’s post office box in Searsport every two to three weeks. Each package contained 50 to 100 tablets of prescription painkillers, including Percocet and oxycodone. Reaves and Clark sold the pills, then deposited half the money into a Bank of America account in Maine in Romero’s name.

Investigators set up a post office box in Belfast and instructed Reaves and Clark to have the next shipment of pills sent there. Phone calls and text messages between Reaves and Ramcharitar also were obtained by police and security videos that showed a man matching Romero’s description mailing a package from a West Melbourne, Fla., post office were viewed, according to court documents.

The state charges against Reaves and Clark were dropped earlier this year. Reaves has not been charged in federal court.

If convicted, all three defendants face up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million. A conviction also could adversely affect Ramcharitar’s immigration status.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/04/13/news/court/woman-pleads-guilty-in-pill-mailing-scheme/ printed on July 23, 2014