May 22, 2018
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13th defendant pleads guilty in federal court to being part of major bath salts distribution ring in Bangor

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — A member of a conspiracy to distribute bath salts in northern and coastal Maine pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court to a drug conspiracy charge.

Jacob Gagnon, 25, of Van Buren, formerly of Bangor, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute MDPV, a chemical compound commonly referred to as “bath salts” or “monkey dust.”

There is no plea agreement in the case, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A sentencing date has not been set.

Gagnon will be held without bail pending sentencing.

He was free on bail until he entered the guilty plea Friday.

Gagnon and 13 others were indicted by a federal grand jury in July 2013 in connection with an alleged conspiracy to distribute MDPV in 2011. The drug is known to cause paranoia, convulsions and psychotic behavior in users.

The number of defendants indicted appears to make this the largest bath salts conspiracy case prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maine.

By pleading guilty, Gagnon, who also was known as “Jake the Snake,” admitted that between April and December 2011, he and other members of the conspiracy illegally distributed large quantities of MDPV in Penobscot, Aroostook and Knox counties, the press release said. The defendant obtained bath salts from other conspirators, then resold it to drug addicts in Bangor to feed his own habit.

Gagnon was living in Van Buren and attending Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle when he was arrested Aug. 6. He pleaded not guilty to the charge the same day.

He faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

Others charged in the case include Ryan Ellis, 33, formerly of Greenbush and Dover-Foxcroft; Adam Hathorn, 36, of Bangor; Tina “Fumble” Keaton, 32, of Bangor; Michael “Bub” Tardiff, 53, of Old Town; Matthew Tardiff, 27, of Old Town; Steven Orosco, 23, of Orrington; Jessica Bryden, 21, of Greenbush; Daniel Hines, 37, of Orrington; Alan Ketchen, 40, also known as “AJ” or “Hobbes,” of Bangor; April Kane, 28, of Gorham; Elizabeth Mikotowicz, 27, of Bangor; Jamie Lewis, 37, formerly of Bangor, now of New Hampshire; and Gina Nelson, 30, of Bradley.

All but Lewis have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

Matthew Tardiff was sentenced May 27 to four years and nine months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He also was ordered to pay a $500 fine.


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