The Newport man who led a heroin distribution ring in the Pittsfield area was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to 13 years and four months in federal prison.
The ring was responsible for bringing 20,000 bags of heroin with an estimated street value of $316,000 into the area, according to court documents.
Jamie Akerson’s sentence would have been more than twice as long if he had not identified his Massachusetts supplier to federal prosecutors and testified against him this summer.
A jury found Myron “Templer” Crosby Jr., 55, of Springfield, Massachusetts, guilty on Aug. 2 of being part of the conspiracy Akerson led in Maine. His sentencing date has not been set.
Crosby, an African-American man, said he “did not have a chance at a fair trial” with an all-white jury. He also claimed he should have been tried in Massachusetts or Connecticut, where the drug sales took place, instead of in Maine where the drug was distributed between May 2015 and January 2016.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey, who prosecuted both men, on Monday told U.S. District Judge John Woodcock that without Akerson’s help, his office and investigators might never have learned that Crosby was the supplier known as Templer. Through his attorney, David Bate of Bangor, Akerson turned over a photo of a license plate that led to the arrest of the Massachusetts supplier.
Akerson, 57, testified July 31 at Crosby’s trial that he and Todd Shorey, 54, of Newport, who worked as long-haul truckers, decided to sell heroin in the area after the local drug dealers were arrested. Akerson asked a man he had purchased crack cocaine from in Massachusetts to put him in touch with the man who turned out to be Crosby as a potential supplier.
On the stand, Akerson said that he would get in a car with Crosby and give him cash. Crosby’s driver would then take the two men to a house in Hartford, Connecticut, or Springfield, Massachusetts. Crosby would go into a house while Akerson waited in the car for about 10 minutes, then, return with the heroin. The amount of money involved in each transaction ranged from $400 to $10,000, he testified.
Akerson and Shorey both pleaded guilty last year to a drug conspiracy charge. At his sentencing, Akerson emotionally apologized to the people he sold drugs to and their families.
“Knowing that I was an addict, I don’t understand how I could have put them in that position,” he said.
Akerson was addicted to crack cocaine, not the heroin he sold, according to court documents.
In sentencing Akerson, Woodcock called the amount of heroin Akerson distributed in Newport, Pittsfield, Dexter, Etna and the surrounding communities “staggering.” The judge pointed out that the towns where Akerson and others sold heroin were small communities of 4,000 or fewer.
“These drug quantities might be a drop in the bucket in a large city, but these are tiny communities,” Woodcock said. “Drugs, and in particular heroin, have frayed the fabric of those communities. The defendant and his co-conspirators are a powerful of example of how endemic this appetite for illegal drugs is in Maine.”
Akerson faced between 30 years and life in prison under the advisory federal sentencing guidelines. He faced more prison time than his co-conspirator Shorey, in part, because of his long criminal history in Maine and Connecticut.
Shorey was sentenced last month to seven years and three months in prison for his role in the conspiracy.
The prosecution recommended Akerson be sentenced to about 15½ years in prison. Bate urged the judge to incarcerate his client for between 12½ and the 13 years and four months Woodcock imposed.
Akerson has been held without bail since entering his guilty plea in April 2017. That time will be applied to his sentence.
Both men must serve five years of supervised release after completing their prison sentences.
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