PORTLAND, Maine — A 60-year-old Warren woman who federal investigators say has illegally received large packages of prescription painkillers from Florida twice a week for two years has agreed to plead guilty.
Sentencing for Niraja Beram is scheduled for Aug. 28 in U.S. District Court in Portland before Judge Nancy Torresen. The plea agreement between Beram and the U.S. Attorney’s Office calls for a prison term of no more than 24 months.
A new criminal complaint charging Beram with intent to distribute oxycodone was filed May 22, the same day that the defendant waived her right to have a grand jury consider the case and possibly issue an indictment.
Beram was originally charged Jan. 27 with importing oxycodone with the intent to distribute. The maximum penalty under the original charge was 20 years. The lower sentence was agreed to because she has accepted responsibility for the offense, according to the plea agreement filed in court.
She remains free on bail.
An affidavit filed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in order to get a search warrant on an U.S. Postal Service express mail package being delivered Jan. 25 to Beram stated 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 states in that affidavit 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.
Two agents were waiting for Beram when she went to pick up the package Jan. 26 at Global Packing Shipping in Camden.
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 is represented by attorneys Jeffrey Hamm, John Burke and Timothy Zerillo of Portland. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Conley is prosecuting the case.