January 27

Augusta woman pleads guilty to distributing drugs

Sale of 37 oxycodone pills to informant in West Gardiner lot was recorded by police.

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

A 32-year-old Augusta woman pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Bangor to illegal distribution of oxycodone.

click image to enlarge

DRUG ARREST: Jennifer Dowling waits to be taken to jail in June after being arrested by Augusta police on drug possession charges after drug agents and Augusta police raided 21 Glenwood St. in Augusta.

Staff file photo by Andy Molloy

Prosecutors say Jennifer Dowling sold 37 pills to a confidential informant for $1,000 on May 9, 2012, at the Interstate 95 park and ride lot on Lewiston Road in West Gardiner.

The informant was fitted with a recording device and accompanied by an undercover agent of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency at the time of the buy, according to the prosecution’s version of events filed in court by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCormack.

Dowling was in a Dodge Durango, which was being driven by Michael Pierce, 33, of Augusta. She allegedly took the agent’s money and then passed the pills to Pierce to give to the informant, McCormack wrote.

Pierce pleaded guilty Oct. 2 in U.S. District Court in Bangor to distributing oxycodone and aiding and abetting, in connection with the same incident. Pierce also faces pharmacy robbery charges in Kennebec County Superior Court.

He is accused in the May 8, 2012, robbery of the CVS pharmacy on Stone Street and a June 18, 2012, robbery of the CVS pharmacy on Capitol Street, both in Augusta.

A federal grand jury returned a sealed indictment against Dowling in October 2012, and she was arrested on Dec. 14, 2012.

Her attorney, James S. Nixon, earlier asked a judge to allow Dowling to remain free on bail following her guilty plea, saying she has been working and was enrolled in college. His written request indicates she has complied with all bail conditions, and has undergone drug treatment and recovery.

However, U.S. District Court Chief Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. ordered Dowling into custody as soon as the plea took place Monday afternoon.

The maximum penalties on the charge are 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Her case was scheduled to go to federal jury selection Jan. 8 before she said she intended to plead guilty.

Previously, Dowling was charged in state court with illegal possession of drugs June 19, 2012, after she was arrested as part of the investigation into the pharmacy robberies. She pleaded guilty to that charge on Oct. 30, 2012, in Augusta, and was sentenced to 364 days in jail, all suspended, followed by one year of administrative release. She also was fined $400.

Betty Adams — 621-5631 badams@centralmaine.com Twitter: @betadams

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