Former Port City Music Hall owner pleads guilty in N.Y. to smuggling cocaine in soda machines

Posted Dec. 04, 2013, at 11:21 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The former owner of Port City Music Hall pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Syracuse, N.Y., to a drug conspiracy charge.

Robert Evon, 35, of Portland admitted his role in shipping 78 kilograms, or, 171.6 pounds, of cocaine from California to Vermont hidden in soda machines, according to court documents.

Evon pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy with the intent to distribute cocaine. He was arrested July 31 after being indicted by a federal grand jury July 25. Evon has been held without bail since his arrest.

As part of his plea agreement with prosecutors, Evon agreed to forfeit his home at 374 Spring St. in Portland, which is paid for, according to court documents.

By pleading guilty Evon admitted that in February 2012 he arranged to have the 78 kilograms of cocaine shipped from Los Angeles to White River Junction, Vt., in two soda machines. Evon had his co-conspirator, Kenneth Irving, 32, of South Portland, drove a rented box truck to Elizabeth, N.J., to pick up the soda machines. Irving was to be paid $5,000 for making the trip, according to court documents.

Irving, who pleaded guilty in May to a drug conspiracy charge, called a man who, unbeknownst to Irving, was a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent working undercover, according to court documents. Irving told the agent to meet him to pick up the cocaine at a storage facility in White River Junction.

The individual in California who shipped the cocaine to New Jersey is not identified in court documents filed in either Maine man’s case.

Evon is scheduled to be sentenced April 4 in Syracuse, N.Y., according to information posted on the court’s electronic case filing system. Evon faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life in federal prison. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, the recommended time Evon should be behind bars is between 14 and more than 24 years.

Irving, who has been held without bail since May is scheduled to be sentenced in February. He faces similar prison time.

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