PORTLAND, Maine — A man who ran a large crack cocaine distribution operation in the Portland area that primarily sold to public assistance recipients received the state’s maximum penalty for drug distribution in U.S. District Court on Tuesday.
District Court Judge George Singal sentenced New York City resident Rashidi Campbell, 32, to 20 years’ imprisonment for dealing crack cocaine in a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week operation that generated sales of between $500 and $2,000 per day for more than 18 months.
“The court stated at the sentencing that this was one of the most significant drug cases in this district, and we would definitely agree with that,” said Daniel Perry, assistant U.S. attorney. “The evidence showed that what distinguished this from other operations is its duration and its level of sophistication.”
Perry said the operation, which ran for at least 18 months and used four different apartment locations as distribution points, employed a professional business plan or model.
“He [Campbell] accounted for site location, negotiated rent with the apartment owners where drugs were distributed, and used a commission system based on sales or volume of drugs sold out of each apartment,” Perry said. “For a crack operation, this was a large quantity operation for a long duration. One apartment was moving over four ounces of crack per month.”
Perry said just one apartment location “employed” as many as 20 to 25 employees during that 18-month period.
Campbell — who went by other aliases including Rashide Campbell, Tony and Theotis Leonard — received the maximum sentence allowable under Maine law because of the extent of his operation, which used at least four apartments as distribution centers, and other factors including the use of a minor to deal drugs and his use of violence. In one case he used a gun to assault other drug traffickers in the commission of his drug operation.
“This defendant not only used a gun to protect his turf with violence, but his main clientele was society’s least fortunate, primarily people who are on public assistance,” said Perry.
The sentencing followed a 16-month investigation that began in early 2010 and ultimately resulted in Campbell’s conviction by a jury on Dec. 1, 2011.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, and Portland and Scarborough police departments collaborated in the investigation.
The fact that the majority of Campbell’s customers were men and women getting public assistance benefits and funding wasn’t considered rare by Perry.
“This isn’t unusual, unfortunately,” he said.
One witness in the trial described her own crack use in late 2010 to be between $300 and $700 daily.
A partnership between Campbell and another trafficker from New York lasting at least nine months eventually dissolved. Evidence presented at trial showed that sometime after the partnership ended, Campbell went to an Allen Avenue apartment and violently assaulted another drug trafficker and other victims using a gun. Also, U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty established that at least one juvenile was involved in Campbell’s operation.
Perry said at least one woman involved in the operation by allowing drug sales in her apartment operated a prostitution business on the side in order to buy the same cocaine being sold out of her place.
Perry credited the strength of the case on evidence gathered during the long investigation and the testimony provided by several witnesses.