BANGOR, Maine — A New York woman who smuggled 645 oxycodone pills to Maine in a body cavity was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to 22 months in federal prison.
Ebony Howard, 29, of the Bronx, also was sentenced to three years of supervised release after she completes her prison term.
Howard pleaded guilty in June to one count of possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone.
In sentencing Howard, U.S. District Judge Woodcock said that the estimated value of the pills was between $12,500 and $15,000. The judge called the number of pills she was caught bringing into the Waterville area “substantial.”
“That drug quantity is a proxy heartache, trouble and mischief,” Woodcock told Howard just prior to imposing the sentence. “You were bringing a large amount of heartache, trouble and mischief to Maine.”
Howard and her co-defendant, William Waters, 32, of Bronx, New York, were arrested by Waterville police in March 2013. Originally charged in state court, they were charged in federal court two months later and the state charges were dropped, according to court documents.
Howard is the younger sister of Waters’ former girlfriend, the judge said Monday.
Waters was an associate of Maurice “Mo” McCray, 33, of Waterville, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. About 30 people have been charged in connection with the McCray drug distribution ring.
Both men have pleaded guilty to drug charges and are due to be sentenced later this week.
Howard was free on bail from June 2013 until the time she pleaded guilty without incident, her attorney, William Maddox of Rockland, told Woodcock. She passed 22 drugs tests while on bail, he said.
Howard has been held without bail since June while awaiting sentencing.
“Being incarcerated has taught me to make better, smarter decisions,” she said Monday.
Howard faced up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. Under the prevailing federal sentencing guidelines, the recommended sentence was between 30 and 37 months in prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey recommended a 30-year-sentence. Maddox urged the judge to impose a sentence of time served.
The judge said he imposed the sentence he did because Howard did well while on bail and acted only as a mule for Waters and never sold drugs.