BANGOR, Maine — A Connecticut man has begun serving a four-year prison term after being convicted of drug trafficking in a case that originated when Lincoln police found about $7,000 in cocaine, heroin and oxycodone in his Lee Road apartment last October.
Jason Gergler, 30, of Ivoryton, Conn., pleaded guilty Thursday before Superior Court Justice John Nivison to Class B drug trafficking and was sentenced to seven years in prison, with all but four years suspended, and three years probation, officials said.
Lincoln Police Chief William Lawrence said Maine Assistant Attorney General Patrick Larson, who is assigned to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, telephoned Friday with the news because Larson was so pleased with the sentence.
“This is a significant deal for a drug case,” Lawrence said Friday. “They [prosecutors] usually don’t get this kind of deal. It is usually 30 or 120 days of jail time. I think it was the amount of drugs and type of drugs that made the difference.”
Larson agreed with Lawrence.
“It was someone who had been in Lincoln for two weeks solely for the purpose of selling drugs,” Larson said of Gergler. “The quantity of drugs he had would have had a significant impact on a community the size of Lincoln’s.
“He [Gergler] is the poster child of why the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency is in existence. He is someone from outside Maine coming here to sell drugs. That’s what we try to do: We try to target these kinds of people,” Larson added.
Police officer David Cram originally charged Gergler on Oct. 5 with aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs, a Class A felony, after finding in Gergler’s apartment at the Acorn Apartments complex 200 small packets of heroin packaged for street sale, 121 oxycodone pills, cocaine, crack cocaine, 11 hypodermic needles and $590 in cash — items worth about $7,000 in total.
Police also found during a court-approved search a ledger with several names in it, possibly drug customers, Lawrence has said.
The case began as a routine complaint, except that when Cram arrived at the complex at 26 Lee Road, Gergler’s manner led him to believe that Gergler was intoxicated, possibly on bath salts, according to Lawrence.
When Gergler invited Cram into the apartment, the officer saw the ledger, a spoon and several pieces of burned foil that he suspected were drug paraphernalia and took Gergler into custody, Lawrence has said.
Cram then applied for and received a search warrant. He and Sgt. Glenn Graef searched the apartment and found the drugs, according to Lawrence.
Gergler rented the apartment himself and admitted during police questioning that he carried the drugs from Connecticut for sale in the Lincoln Lakes region, Lawrence has said.
As part of the plea bargain Nivison approved, Gergler will pay $2,100 in restitution to cover the costs of the drug tests police had to administer, court officials said. Lincoln police will also get to use the $590 to pay for equipment or other expenses.
At the time of the arrest, Lawrence called the drug case one of the largest in recent town history. Gergler was indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury on the drug charges in late November.
It was also a unique case. Besides the presence of the ledger, which is unusual in most drug busts, the case began with Gergler calling 911 to report people trying to break into his apartment. Investigators thought Gergler was high on bath salts, but Gergler admitted to taking heroin, Lawrence has said.
Police gave the ledger to MDEA. The item hasn’t yet led to further arrests, Larson said.
“We really could not make much out of it,” he said. “There were some first names, quantities and prices in it. It really wasn’t like an accountant’s ledger. It was more like notes in a notebook.”