Florida couple sentenced to more than 4 years for mailing oxycodone

Posted Sept. 27, 2011, at 3:36 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 27, 2011, at 8:06 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Florida couple were sentenced to four years and three months in federal prison on drug charges.

Raymond “Andy” Romero, 35, and Vashti Ramcharitar , 31, of West Melbourne, Fla., admitted earlier this year that they were part of a conspiracy to mail prescription painkillers to post offices boxes in Waldo County.

In addition to prison time, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock sentenced them each to three years of supervised release.

A third person, Shannon Clark, 33, of Searsport, pleaded guilty in June to being part of the conspiracy. Her sentencing date has not been set.

Ramcharitar, a native of Trinidad, gave birth to Romero’s baby several weeks before pleading guilty in April to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substance. Romero pleaded guilty to the same charge in February.

Information about when Ramcharitar gave birth has not been released but the baby was delivered at Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft while Ramcharitar was being held at the Piscataquis County Jail, according to a previously published report.

She is expected to be deported after completing her prison term, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Romero and Ramcharitar were arrested on Oct. 10, 2010, near the home they shared. Both have been held in Maine without bail since then. The time they have been in jail will be credited to their prison terms.

The investigation that led to their arrests began in August in Waldo County, according to the prosecution’s version of events, to which all three defendants 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.

Romero and Ramcharitar faced up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million. Under the prevailing federal sentencing guidelines, their recommended sentences were between four years and three months and five years and three months.

The investigation was conducted jointly by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Searsport Police Department and the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office.

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