BANGOR, Maine — A man described by his attorney, the prosecutor and a federal judge as an unlikely candidate to be labeled a drug dealer was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court to nearly four years in prison for selling marijuana.
Louis Bailey, 47, of Wells was using between one-quarter and one-half ounce a day of $400-an-ounce marijuana in early 2010 when he began distributing the drug with his childhood friend Roland Daggett.
Bailey began dealing to feed his own habit, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock said in sentencing him to three years and 10 months in federal prison. When he was caught, Bailey had 101 pounds of marijuana in his truck and another 188 pounds in his home.
Daggett and Bailey were arrested on Aug. 26, 2010, at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint set up in the southbound lane of Interstate 95 in Old Town.
The duo had been headed for Vinalhaven but missed their exit off I-95 North, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey, who prosecuted the case, told Woodcock. Bailey and Daggett, who were smoking marijuana, were north of Old Town when they realized their mistake. They left the highway and headed south only to be directed to the checkpoint.
Bailey waived indictment on Nov. 30, 2011, and pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and distribution of marijuana and aiding and abetting the same. Since then, he has been held without bail while awaiting sentencing.
Daggett, 45, of Lyman pleaded guilty on Sept. 15 to possession with intent to distribute marijuana. His bail was revoked earlier this month. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 4.
“Sometimes it takes a cataclysm in someone’s life for him to discover or rediscover what’s important in life,” Woodcock told Bailey shortly before imposing the sentence. “It appears to me, you’ve gone through such a cataclysm.
“This was a storm anyone who knew you and knew what you were doing could have seen coming,” the judge continued. “But you, yourself, were blind to it.”
Bailey apologized to his wife and family for the pain his actions had caused them.
“I was one of those people who thought marijuana was not harmful,” the defendant, who said he began smoking marijuana at age 12, told Woodcock. “It was the drug that made me feel that way. In jail, I hear from many people that the first thing they want to do when they get out is get high. That is the last thing I want to do.”
Bailey said that physically, he feels better now than he ever has in his life. The asthma he had attributed to allergies to animals has disappeared and he no longer needs an inhaler.
The Wells man said that while out on bail waiting for his case to be resolved he converted to Catholicism, volunteered in the community and underwent counseling. When he is released from prison, Bailey said he wants to share his story with teens and tell them that marijuana is an addictive drug.
Bailey faced up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the possession charge and up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million on the distribution charge.
Under the federal sentencing guidelines, the recommended sentence on both counts was between three years and 10 months and four years and nine months in prison.
Casey and defense attorney Leonard Sharon of Auburn recommended that Bailey be sentenced to the low end of the guidelines.
In their plea discussions, the attorneys agreed not to penalize Bailey for having a handgun in his truck when he was caught with marijuana. Woodcock said he reluctantly accepted that recommendation but was highly unlikely to do it for another defendant.
Bailey’s sentence most likely would have been a year longer if he had been penalized for having the gun.