Key witness in St. John Valley marijuana smuggling trial sent back to prison

Adam M. Hafford
Adam M. Hafford
Posted Oct. 10, 2012, at 1:20 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A key witness in a marijuana smuggling trial that sent a St. David man to federal prison for life will spend an additional eight months in federal prison for violating his supervised release.

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 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 in Dover-Foxcroft District Court this summer of theft of scrap metal. He served four days in jail on that state charge, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The probation officer also alleged that Hafford failed at least four drugs tests in past 18 months, testing positive for cocaine and marijuana.

On Wednesday, in the same courtroom where he testified against Pelletier, Hafford admitted that he had violated his supervised release.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock accepted a joint recommendation from Assistant U.S. Attorney James Moore and defense attorney Charles Hodsdon II of Bangor that Hafford be sentenced to eight months in prison followed by an additional 4½ years of supervised release.

Woodcock ordered that Hafford spend the first six months of that term of supervised release confined to a federal halfway house.

Hafford did not address the court.

Woodcock told Hafford just before imposing the new sentence that he remembered Hafford “very well.

“I really thought I wouldn’t see you again,” the judge said. “I thought you’d gotten the message, so I’m a little chagrined that you are back here again. It seems to me that there are two problems that bring you back here. The first problem is the company you keep. The second problem are the drugs you take, and they are interrelated.”

Woodcock urged Hafford to used his probation officer as a resource when he is released again.

Pelletier — who is paralyzed from the waist down because of 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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