Judge calls Milo man a ‘virus’ in his community at sentencing on drug, gun charges

Posted Aug. 14, 2012, at 11:11 a.m.
Last modified Aug. 14, 2012, at 5:03 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Milo man a federal judge called “a virus within Piscatatquis County” was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to nine years and nine months in prison on drug and gun charges.

Daren Bowden, 43, who became addicted to oxycodone when he was treated for a back injury four years ago, also was sentenced to three years of supervised release.

Bowden pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance and possession of a firearm by a person addicted to a controlled substance.

In imposing the prison term, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock said Bowden sold the highly addictive narcotic painkiller to “friends and friends of his friends” to feed his own habit after the defendant’s doctor refused to prescribe more painkillers.

“The defendant was in effect a virus within Piscataquis County,” the judge said in imposing the sentence. “His drug dealing caused pain and suffering. Even his own daughter became addicted. As angry as he is at the people who sold drugs to his daughter, he should realize that the people he sold oxycodone to are someone’s children.”

By pleading guilty, Bowden admitted that between Jan. 1, 2009, and March 1, 2010, he conspired with others, who are not named in court documents, to possess and distribute oxycodone. Bowden bought more than 3,000 oxycodone pills from an “illicit source and distributed the pills throughout Piscataquis County,” according to the prosecution version of events to which he pleaded guilty.

Bowden’s source “fronted” the pills to the defendant, who sold the pills, collected the money and made payments to his source, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case. Bowden became addicted to oxycodone after he suffered a work-related back injury in 2008.

He faced up to 20 years in federal prison on the drug charge and up to 10 years in prison on the gun charge. He also faced fines of up to $1 million and $250,000, respectively.

Defense attorney Ronald Bourget of Augusta urged the judge to show leniency and sentence his client to six years and eight months in prison. Bourget unsuccessfully argued that Bowden received far fewer than 3,000 pills because he was working and living in Vermont from September to December 2009 and did not have regular access to his supplier.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey, who prosecuted the case, recommended Bowden be put behind bars for 12½ years.

Bowden is scheduled to appear Monday on state charges in Piscatiquis County Superior Court, according to District Attorney R. Christopher Almy. Bowden is expected to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit arson and be sentenced to prison time to be served concurrently with his federal prison term.

He was indicted on the charge with Michael Weston and Michael E. Witham Sr., 54 of Milo last year by the Piscataquis County grand jury.

Almy said Tuesday that the three men are accused of conspiring to set fire in November 2009 to Witham’s camp in Milo to the collect insurance money. The charges against Weston and Witham are pending.

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