Former China man sentenced to nearly 4 years for role in oxycodone ring

Posted March 20, 2013, at 6:44 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Kittery man was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court to three years and 10 months in federal prison for his role in a drug distribution ring in Kennebec and Cumberland counties.

Kenneth McKenney, 24, also was sentenced to three years of supervised release after he completes his prison term.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock said in sentencing McKenney that he was not “a central figure in the conspiracy but was essential to the conspiracy.”

McKenney sold drugs to feed his own addiction, Woodcock said.

“A dealer from out of state does not walk into Maine and begin to do business without local contacts,” the judge told McKenney. “He needs someone local to use his contacts to spread the poison Barry Diaz is selling. It strikes me that your life and part in this crime is a cautionary tale for others.”

McKenney lived in China, Maine, when he was arrested in December 2011, after being indicted the previous month on charges of drug conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone, money laundering and unlawful use of a communication facility.

McKenney pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge in November 2012. In a plea agreement with prosecutors, the other charges were dismissed at McKenney’s sentencing. He has been held without bail since then. That time will be applied to his sentence.

By pleading guilty, McKenney admitted that between April and August 2011, he obtained drugs from Barry Diaz, 30, of Stamford, Conn. McKenney met Diaz at various locations in Maine to pick up oxycodone pills, according to the prosecution’s version of events to which McKenney pleaded guilty. Later, he would deposit the proceeds of the sales to Diaz’s bank accounts.

The operation was one of several drug rings in Maine run by Barry Diaz, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. A competency hearing for Diaz is scheduled to be held next month.

McKenney faced up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

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