September 10, 2013

Portland businessman accused in international drug conspiracy

Robert Evon, a former owner of Port City Music Hall, is accused in a new court filing of conspiring to smuggle $2.7 million worth of cocaine.

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Robert Evon, the former owner of a notable live music venue in downtown Portland, was involved in "an international drug smuggling operation" much larger in scope than had previously been disclosed, according to a document filed Monday afternoon in federal court in New York.

click image to enlarge

Robert Evon

Courtesy File Photo

The new court filing, by U.S. Magistrate Judge Therese Wiley Dancks, orders Evon, 35, of Portland held without bail until he goes to trial in U.S. District Court in Syracuse, N.Y., this fall on a charge of conspiracy to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine.

What was not known until Monday was the exact amount that Evon is accused of conspiring to smuggle: 77 kilograms of cocaine, which would have a street value in Portland of roughly $2.7 million, according to Anthony Pettigrew, a spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's New England division.

"The evidence appears to show that the Defendant was involved in a conspiracy involving importation of approximately seventy-seven (77) kilograms of cocaine through several states including California, New Jersey and Vermont, and Canada. The Government indicates that Defendant has ties to an international drug smuggling operation," Dancks wrote in the order she issued Monday afternoon.

Evon owned the Port City Music Hall for years before selling its assets this year to the company that owns the nearby State Theatre in downtown Portland. Evon no longer has any connection to the nightclub at 504 Congress St.

Evon was indicted July 25 by a grand jury in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York and arrested in Maine on July 31.

Federal prosecutors are seeking to have Evon forfeit $2.34 million, representing the value of property he used or intended to use as part of the alleged cocaine trafficking scheme. Prosecutors have also put a lien on Evon's house at 374 Spring St. in Portland, which has an assessed value of about $575,000, according to city records.

Evon made his first appearance in federal court in New York on Aug. 28, when he pleaded not guilty.

His attorney, Kenneth Moynihan of Syracuse, did not return phone and email messages seeking comment.

In her order, Dancks found that Evon has no ties to the Northern District of New York and owns much valuable property in Maine with few records of how he was able to afford it.

"(Evon) is self-employed as a fishing boat captain. He owns a residence of substantially high value and equity with no mortgage appearing on his credit report. He also owns a boat and other vehicles. Although he has loans for the boat and one vehicle, he has some considerable equity in those items," Dancks said.

A prosecutor in Syracuse, Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Brown, said last week that the indictment against Evon is solely for activity in New York from Feb. 21 to 22, 2012, and does not accuse him of any wrongdoing in Maine.

Brown would not discuss specifics of the case.

A charge of conspiracy requires actions by more than one person, but so far Evon is the only person charged in the case. Few other details are in the court files.

If convicted of the cocaine conspiracy charge, Evon faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison.

Scott Dolan can be contacted at: 791-6304 or at:

sdolan@mainetoday.com

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