Man who testified to smuggling pot by swimming St. John back in jail

Posted Sept. 10, 2012, at 7:37 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 11, 2012, at 8:30 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A key witness in a marijuana smuggling trial that sent a St. David man to federal prison for life was back before a federal judge Monday afternoon and in the Penobscot County Jail by sunset.

Adam M. Hafford, 42, of Dover-Foxcroft testified in July 2007 against Michael J. Pelletier, 56, of St. David in exchange for immunity against prosecution for being part of Pelletier’s marijuana conspiracy.

Hafford testified that in 2004, he ferried cash to Canada and returned with between 60 and 120 pounds of marijuana on his back by “swimming” the St. John River — first wearing a life jacket and later wearing a wetsuit and fins. Hafford, who had never learned to swim, also used a motorized underwater “scooter” to make the passage easier for himself.

He also admitted during Pelletier’s trial that he had lied to a federal grand jury in 2006 about just how much marijuana he had smuggled across the border. He admitted that instead of bringing up to 220 pounds of marijuana across the border at a time, he swam with only half that amount on his back.

Hafford was serving a 10-year sentence on a drug charge when he testified against Pelletier. His sentence was reduced to 4½ years in 2009 and he was released from federal prison on March 10, 2010. Hafford then began serving five years of federal supervised release.

On Aug. 28, 2012, Hafford’s U.S. probation officer filed a motion to revoke his supervised release after Hafford was convicted of theft of scrap metal in Dover-Foxcroft District Court this summer. He served four days in jail on that state charge, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The probation officer also has alleged that Hafford failed at least four drugs tests in past 18 months, testing positive for cocaine and marijuana.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuck on Friday released Hafford on personal recognizance bail after he denied violating his supervised release. The judge ordered that Hafford live with his mother, Crystal Boone in Lincoln.

On Monday, U.S. Probation Officer Stacy Laflin drove to Lincoln to check on Hafford at his mother’s home. He wasn’t there.

Laflin then called Hafford on her cell phone and ordered him to be in her office by 2 p.m. Monday. She also filed a motion to revoke his bail set three days earlier. Hafford showed up 15 or 20 minutes later, she testified Monday.

Hafford, who took the stand during Monday’s 30-minute hearing, said his mother had told him and Laflin on Friday morning that he could stay with her in Lincoln. About 4 p.m. Friday, after the court hearing, Hafford testified that his mother called him to say that he was “not welcome” in her home because her husband was opposed to his living there.

Instead of calling Laflin’s office or her cell phone immediately, Hafford did not call his probation officer until about 6 a.m. Monday. He called the office and left a message but Laflin did not get it until she returned to her office from Lincoln.

Hafford said Monday that he had moved several times recently and could not find Laflin’s business card, which also contains her cell phone number. He said he had received calls from her cell phone on his cell phone but had not saved the number. Hafford said he did not call the office immediately after his mother called him Friday because he thought the office would be closed.

As an alternative to his mother’s home, Hafford suggested that he live with a mechanic who works at Brooks Tire and Auto Sales in Dexter, where Hafford is employed part-time. He said that is where he spent the weekend.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Moore objected to that suggestion because the man Hafford proposed to live with has been convicted three times for violating the conditions of his release on charges that grew out of a domestic dispute. Hafford’s co-worker also has been convicted of drunken driving.

The judge agreed with the federal prosecutor.

“Fool me once, shame on you, Mr. Hafford,” Kravchuk said Monday in revoking his bail. “Fool me twice, shame on me. I’m not releasing [you] to a person who’s violated his conditions of release and has an alcohol problem.”

A hearing on whether Hafford’s supervised release is to be revoked is expected to be scheduled in about a month, Moore said after Monday’s hearing.

If U.S. District Judge John Woodcock, who sentenced Hafford to prison, finds that he violated his supervised release, Hafford could be sent back to federal prison for up to two years, according to court documents.

Pelletier — the man Hafford testified against, who is paralyzed from the waist down due to an injury on the family farm when he was a child — is serving a life sentence at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., according the prisoner locator maintained by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

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