BANGOR, Maine — A Frankfort man who pleaded guilty last year to participating in a scheme to bring hundreds of pounds of marijuana from Arizona to Maine in his recreational vehicle was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to six years in prison.
Gerald T. Rich Jr., 49, waived indictment and pleaded guilty Nov. 29 to one count each of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana and lying to federal law enforcement officers.
One hundred kilograms equals 220 pounds.
Rich had been held without bail since then.
In addition to prison time, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock sentenced Rich to four years of supervised release.
Rich and Mark Wolosko, 48, of Kennebunkport were arrested and then released in the summer of 2011 after they received 475 pounds of marijuana that was transported from Phoenix to Maine in a 31-foot 2004 Coachman Freedom. Rich owned the RV, according to court documents.
Wolosko pleaded guilty to the same drug conspiracy charge Rich did. The Kennebunkport man was sentenced May 30 to 18 months in federal prison. He is due to be released from a Devens, Mass., facility run by the Bureau of Prisons in March, according to the Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator website.
A third man, James A. Sweeney, 28, of Gray, pleaded guilty in April to being part of the conspiracy. His sentencing date has not been set. Sweeney, whose exact role in the conspiracy had not been outlined in court documents, is being held without bail.
The operation came to light on June 28, 2011, when a man, identified only by the initials C.S., was stopped for a traffic violation on Interstate 44 in southwest Missouri, according to court documents.
C.S. told agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that he and Rich had flown from Portland, Maine, to Phoenix on June 10, 2011. Rich gave C.S. $1,500 in cash to pay expenses on the return trip to Maine in the RV, according to the documents. C.S. was paid $9,000 when he arrived in Maine.
C.S. again flew to Phoenix on June 26, 2011, and was stopped two days later in Missouri on his way to Maine in the Coachman Freedom RV owned by Rich, according to court documents. After he agreed to cooperate, two DEA agents joined C.S. for the remainder of the trip.
The RV arrived in Maine about 10 p.m. June 29, 2011, court documents said. C.S. met Wolosko, who was accompanied by a white female driving a car with a vanity plate that read “Wolosko,” in a Biddeford parking lot. C.S. got in the car and left with the woman while Wolosko drove the RV to 468 Loggin Road in Frankfort.
Wolosko and Rich were arrested in Frankfort during the early morning hours after 475 pounds of marijuana was found in the RV.
Information about the identity of C.S. has not been made public.
Rich faced a minimum of five years and up to 40 years in federal prison due to the amount of marijuana smuggled into Maine.