June 18, 2018
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3 members of alleged oxycodone ring plead guilty

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

ELLSWORTH, Maine — Three people who police say were involved in an oxycodone distribution ring in Hancock County have pleaded guilty and received jail sentences.

Wendy G. Cassidy, 31, of Bucksport; Brandie M. Higgins, 39, of Eastbrook; and Joel O. Allen Jr., 27, of Orland, were each sentenced in Hancock County Unified Criminal Court earlier this month. All were arrested last December in a sweep that netted eight suspects following a two-year investigation into the alleged ring, according to Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Another member of the suspected ring, David F. Vaughn, pleaded guilty in May to a trafficking charge and received an overall sentence of four years behind bars with all but nine months suspended.

Information about the cases of the four other defendants was unavailable Thursday afternoon.

Cassidy originally was charged with two counts of unlawful trafficking in drugs, a Class B crime that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000.

Those charges were dismissed by prosecutors in exchange for Cassidy pleading guilty to a Class C crime of unlawful furnishing of drugs, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Cassidy pleaded guilty on July 7 and received a sentence of 120 days in jail plus a $400 fine. The judge agreed to allow Cassidy to begin serving her sentence on Friday, Sept. 5, 2014.

Allen also pleaded guilty on July 7, but to a charge of unlawful trafficking in drugs. He was accused of twice selling two 30-milligram oxycodone pills from his home on Patten Pond Road, once in May of last year and again the following month. The transactions were monitored by MDEA agents, according to court documents.

Allen received an overall sentence of three years with all but 120 days suspended, plus a $400 fine and two years probation after he gets out of jail.

Higgins pleaded guilty on July 8 to a charge of unlawful trafficking in drugs. According to court documents, she was accused of selling oxycodone pills on two occasions, once to a buyer at Woodbine Cemetery in Ellsworth on Sept. 9, 2013 and again three months later at an apartment on Bucksport Road in Ellsworth.

Higgins pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful trafficking in drugs, while a second charge and a drug possession charge were dismissed as part of a plea agreement. She also admitted a charge of criminal forfeiture, giving up her claims to $1,425 in cash that police seized during her second arrest, court documents indicate.

Higgins received an overall sentence of four years with all but nine months suspended and two years of probation. Higgins does not have to report to jail to start serving her sentence until Aug. 8, according to court documents.


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