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Houlton woman gets 45 months after trying to smuggle drugs into jail

Jen Lynds | BDN
Jen Lynds | BDN
Dyan Reeves (right) listens to her attorney speak during a sentencing hearing in Aroostook County Superior Court in Houlton on March 21, 2012. Reeves was initially sentenced to 90 days in jail on a drug possession charge last year, but was ordered to serve another 45 months on Wednesday for trying to smuggle drugs into jail.
By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

HOULTON, Maine — A Houlton woman who initially was sentenced to 90 days on a drug possession charge was ordered to serve another 45 months on Wednesday for trying to smuggle drugs into jail.

Dyan M. Reeves, 35, was tearful and repentant when she appeared in Aroostook County Superior Court before Justice E. Allen Hunter. She was indicted by the grand jury four months ago for trafficking in prison contraband. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Wednesday for the felony charge along with a charge of violation of conditions of release.

Aroostook County Assistant District Attorney Kurt Kafferlin said that Reeves had been convicted last year of unlawful possession of scheduled drugs, a Class C felony. The charge stemmed from an incident last year when Reeves came to the Houlton courthouse while security personnel were conducting entry screening. During the process, officers discovered that she was carrying scheduled drugs and a hypodermic needle with blood in it. As part of a plea deal in that case, she was sentenced last August to three years in prison with all but 90 days suspended. The judge allowed her to delay her sentence until Sept. 10, 2011.

Reeves arrived at the jail at the proper time, but Kafferlin said that she attempted to smuggle drugs into the facility with her. Jail personnel were tipped off ahead of time and found her in possession of 40 doses of gabapentin, a medication that is used to treat seizure disorders and help relieve neuropathic pain. It can be abused by recreational drug users.

She was apprehended by staff at the jail and charged with trafficking in prison contraband, a Class C felony.

Cathy Lufkin, Reeves’ attorney, told Hunter on Wednesday that her client was an addict who was “throwing herself on the mercy of the court.” She said that Reeves has a 19-year-old daughter and that their relationship had become frayed because of the 35-year-old’s drug use.

“Drugs took over her life,” said Lufkin. “She’s a good person. She got in with the wrong crowd and started doing drugs and before long she was addicted. She has been in jail since September of 2011 and is facing the sobering reality of what her life has become.”

The defense attorney asked the judge to give Reeves a short sentence along with probation so that she could go to rehab. Kafferlin was against the idea, saying that Reeves has had plenty of chances to clean up. He pushed for her to serve at least 33 months in prison.

Kafferlin told Hunter that Reeves has prior convictions for drug offenses as well as for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants and violation of conditions of release. He said that Reeves had been given plenty of chances and that the trafficking charge was a “very serious offense.”

“Staff at the jail work very hard to keep drugs out of there,” he said. “Any drug harms the population. And this court is a victim. She was allowed to delay her sentence and then she brought drugs to jail with her. If she can’t behave checking into the jail, she likely won’t have success on the outside.”

Aroostook County Sheriff Jim Madore also addressed the judge, saying that 90 percent of the inmates are addicted to something, and bringing drugs into the facility makes it worse.

Reeves’ mother, aunt and brother pleaded for Hunter to give her probation so she could check into a rehab facility. They characterized her as a good, hardworking woman and mother whose life spiraled out of control after she became an addict.

Reeves penned a letter that was read by Lufkin. In it Reeves said she wanted to go to rehab to “get rid of the demons.”

Hunter told Reeves that he had seen “an endless succession of young lives lost to themselves, to their families and to the community” because of drugs during his years on the bench. He said he realized that she was an addict and that her crimes were driven by her addiction, but he called her crimes “egregious.”

Hunter then sentenced Reeves to 33 months in prison on the probation violation and 30 months, with all but 12 months suspended, on the trafficking charge, to be served consecutive to the first sentence.

“It is a long sentence, but it can be a turning point in your life if you let it,” Hunter told Reeves.

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