Presque Isle man sentenced to 27 years for planning to distribute drugs in northern and central Maine

BANGOR, Maine – Joel Strother of Presque Isle was sentenced in federal court to 27 years in prison on Monday for his role in a plan to distribute large amounts of methamphetamine to communities in northern and central Maine.

Strother, 44, and others obtained the drugs from southern and western states and Mexico. He was arrested in 2019 for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, court documents show.

He was also charged with conspiracy to engage in money laundering, but was dismissed as part of a plea deal before his conviction. The case was part of an investigation by federal and state drug enforcement agencies as well as the Department of Homeland Security.

Zoom was sentenced remotely in front of U.S. District Court Judge Lance Walker in Bangor. Given Strother’s level of offense and criminal history, he could face a sentence ranging from 27 to 33 years.

Strother’s attorney, Joel Vincent, said his client came from an abusive home and drug culture, which had led him down the path of crime.

“The government has acknowledged Mr. Strother’s horrific track record, which I support in my sentencing memorandum which likely began before he was born,” Vincent said. “It goes beyond abuse and neglect, it is also an activity based on family dynamics where he was essentially brought up in a culture that drove him to this behavior as an adult.”

Attorney General Nicholas Heimbach said that despite Strother’s traumatic history, he chose to inflict this trauma on others.

“The accused chose to get himself and his own children involved in the same drug trade, drug trafficking and drug cultivation that he cites as the reason for his own conduct,” Heimbach said . “It has caused untold suffering and trauma to a community, and to such an extent that the government wouldn’t even guess to tell the court what kind of suffering it has caused to communities in Maine. ”

Walker sentenced Strother to 27 years, the minimum number in the sentencing guidelines for his offenses.

“You didn’t start your life on top of the mountain, but on a low valley plain, and I understand all of that,” Walker told Strother before the sentencing, acknowledging his difficult childhood in an abusive environment.

“It’s hard to overstate, Mr. Strother, the pain and dysfunction, and too often death, that has plagued communities both near and far across Maine and across the country from Kittery to Fort Kent “said Walker.

Strother, in a statement prepared before his sentencing, acknowledged the pain his actions have caused communities and his own family. He said he was determined to improve in prison, break free from his own drug addiction and take college courses while he was there.

“I can now admit that I was weak, and through that I ruined my life, and I ruined the lives of my children,” Strother said. “I don’t regret being caught. I just wish I could have been caught sooner.

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