Old Town man involved in bath salts distribution ring not joining his son in federal prison

Posted Aug. 12, 2014, at 7:23 p.m.
Michael J. Tardiff
Courtesy of Bangor Police Department
Michael J. Tardiff
Matthew J. Tardiff
Courtesy of Bangor Police Department
Matthew J. Tardiff

BANGOR, Maine — An Old Town man will not be joining his son in federal prison for being part of a bath salts distribution ring in 2011, a judge said Tuesday.

Michael “Bub” Tardiff Sr., 54, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to time served or nearly a year in jail. He was arrested Aug. 22 and charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute bath salts and using or maintaining a drug-involved place.

In a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Tardiff pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge May 14 and the other charge was dismissed.

Tardiff was expected to be released from the Penobscot County Jail, where he has been held since his arrest Tuesday evening.

In addition to prison time, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock sentenced Tardiff to three years of supervised release with conditions that included treatment for substance abuse.

Tardiff’s son, Matthew Tardiff, 27, of Old Town is serving a 57-month sentence at the federal corrections institute in Berlin, New Hampshire. Woodcock sentenced the younger Tardiff on May 27. Matthew Tardiff is due to be released in November 2017, according to information on the U.S. Bureau of Prisons inmate locator website.

The Tardiffs and a dozen others were indicted by a federal grand jury in July 2013 in connection with an alleged conspiracy to distribute MDPV, also called bath salts, 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.

Michael and Matthew Tardiff lived in a mobile home park in Old Town in 2011. Their trailer was “a beehive of activity for drug dealing,” Woodcock said Tuesday. Both men sold bath salts to support their own habits, but Matthew Tardiff was far more involved in the distribution ring than his father was, the judge said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey, who recommended the sentence Woodcock imposed, described Michael Tardiff as “low-level dealer.” Both Tardiffs smoked and injected the drug together, the federal prosecutor said.

“I’m not proud of what I did with my son,” Michael Tardiff told the judge Tuesday. “I’ve ruined lives. I ruined my own life. I aim to rectify my life.”

The father said he wanted to speak at schools to warn students about the dangers of bath salts.

“I saw my son flop on the floor with seizures from bath salts,” he said. “It’s a dangerous drug. It’s killing people. It killed my friends.”

The Tardiffs were the first two defendants indicted to be sentenced. All but other defendant in the case has pleaded guilty and is being held without bail while awaiting sentencing.

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