WARREN, Maine — A 60-year-old Warren woman charged with importing oxycodone with the intent to distribute has been receiving large packages of prescription painkillers twice a week for about two years, according to documents filed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Niraja Beram was released from Cumberland County Jail on Tuesday, Jan. 31, after the U.S. Attorney’s Office withdrew its request to have her detained until trial. The prosecution had originally argued in papers filed in U.S. District Court in Portland that Beram was a serious risk to flee because she was facing more than 10 years in prison.
On Jan. 31, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Rich III agreed to have Beram released on a $10,000 bond. No trial date has been set.
The affidavit filed by the DEA, in order to get a search warrant on an Express Mail package being delivered Jan. 25 to Beram, states that an unnamed cooperating informant in Florida reported that he or she had been sending between 500 and 1,000 pills to Beram through the mail twice a week for about two years.
Beram would pay $20 per pill either half before the delivery or in full after she received the packages, the informant told authorities, according to the affidavit.
U.S. Postal Service Inspector Jeffrey Taylor said that at least 50 Express Mail packages were mailed to Beram from Melbourne, Fla., between June 2010 and October 2011. The inspector said that all the names on the return address of the packages turned out to be fictitious. He stated in the affidavit that Melbourne has been a source of illegal drugs to Maine.
An affidavit filed in the court by DEA Special Agent Steven Galbadis reported that agents opened the last package before it got to Beram and found 257 30-milligram oxycodone pills, 30 8-milligram hydromorphone (Dilaudid) pills and 27 4-milligram hydromorphone pills.
Beram picked up the package Jan. 26 at Global Packing Shipping in Camden where two agents were waiting.
Beram claimed she had not been selling the pills but placed them in a mailbox on her property and someone would pick them up. She told the agents she was paid $400 to $600 each time.
Beram faces a maximum prison term of 20 years to be followed by at least three years of supervised release.