The fourth and final defendant has been sentenced in a case involving fentanyl trafficking in Wiscasset and an out-of-state supplier setting a Richmond house on fire in a debt-collecting attempt.
Loretta S. Perkins, 39, pleaded guilty March 1 to three counts of class B unlawful trafficking in schedule W drugs, one each for cocaine base, “heroin and/or fentanyl,” and methamphetamine, according to court documents. She agreed to forfeit a .22 handgun and $7,791 in cash seized during the arrests.
Several other charges were dismissed: four counts of class A aggravated drug trafficking and another count of class B trafficking.
Perkins’ sentences on the three convictions amount to 18 months in jail, although she will receive credit for about 10-11 months spent at Two Bridges Regional Jail after her arrest, according to the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General John P. Risler. She will not begin the jail sentence until June 13, 2022, which will allow her to continue addiction treatment and care for family.
Perkins is “doing really well” with her treatment, Risler said.
The sentence also includes three years of probation, which will start immediately, and a $400 fine.
Her probation conditions prohibit the possession or use of illegal drugs, as well as the use of alcohol; require her to complete evaluation, counseling, and treatment for substance abuse; and require her to submit to random searches and tests for illegal drugs.
Perkins was arrested for trafficking twice within 10 days. The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency arrested her for the first time April 30, 2019.
MDEA agents seized 20.5 grams of fentanyl, 15.2 grams of cocaine base, 14 grams of cocaine, 11 grams of heroin, 3 grams of methamphetamine, $1,086 in cash, and drug ledgers, according to court documents and a statement from the Maine Department of Public Safety at the time of the arrest. Perkins was released on $500 unsecured bail.
The loss of the drugs and cash attracted the attention of Perkins’ New York City supplier, Todd W. Dickson.
The next day, Dickson and an associate, Joris Gomez, traveled by bus from New York City to Portland and by taxi from Portland to Richmond, stopping at a convenience store to buy a can of gas, according to the Department of Public Safety. The pair then attempted to burn down a house where Perkins had been staying on Pitts Center Road.
Dickson and Gomez “were intent on collecting drug money debt,” according to the Department of Public Safety statement.
Fire destroyed a car in the driveway of the home and gasoline was spread throughout the house, although it had only minor fire damage. A woman and her teenage daughter fled unharmed.
Risler said the woman was the homeowner, not Perkins.
Dickson and Gomez left in the taxi, but police stopped it on Interstate 295 in Topsham and arrested them. They were charged with aggravated trafficking in heroin, arson, burglary, and theft.
Nine days later, on May 10, MDEA agents learned that Loretta Perkins and her husband, Christopher A. Perkins, were selling drugs and carrying a gun, according to court documents. MDEA alerted local law enforcement and Wiscasset Police Chief Larry Hesseltine stopped the couple’s vehicle on Huntoon Hill Road.
During a search of the vehicle, officers found about 50 grams of cocaine and about 25 grams of fentanyl and/or heroin, as well as the .22 revolver and $6,705 in cash, according to court documents. Police arrested the pair and prosecutors filed a motion to revoke Loretta Perkins’ bail.
Two months later, in a letter to the court asking for release to a rehabilitation facility, Perkins said that “the only reason that I have these charges was to try to save the lives of me and all of my family members.”
She said her addiction started when she broke her back “in a domestic violence accident” and became addicted to prescription painkillers.
“Regardless, I was in possession of drugs and picked up by police,” she wrote. “I was in huge debt to my drug dealer after police confiscated everything and he threatened to kill my family.”
She told Dickson that “everything was gone and there was nothing I could do,” but he and Gomez torched the car and house anyway.
After her second arrest, Perkins found herself in jail with Gomez. She spent most days in lockdown in her cell, she said.
Dickson, 28, was convicted of aggravated drug trafficking and arson and is serving an eight-year sentence at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, according to the Maine Department of Corrections.
Christopher Perkins, 37, was convicted of two counts of class B drug trafficking and is serving a three-year sentence at the Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston, according to the Department of Corrections.
Gomez was convicted of conspiracy to commit drug trafficking and served a one-year prison sentence, according to Risler.
“The investigation, especially into the arson, was some really quick thinking” by law enforcement, and it was “really fortunate they were able to apprehend the individuals responsible,” Risler said.
In addition to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Wiscasset Police Department, the Brunswick, Richmond, and Topsham police departments; Lincoln and Sagadahoc County sheriff’s offices; and the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office all assisted in the investigation. The Richmond Fire Department extinguished the May 1 fires.
Brunswick-based attorney Christopher B. Ledwick represented Perkins.
Court documents alternately spell Perkins’ first name Loretta and Lorretta. One document confirms the correct spelling as Loretta and asks the court to correct prior misspellings, but Perkins spelled her name Lorretta in handwritten communications to the court.
Perkins gave numerous addresses in court documents, in Wiscasset as well as Augusta, Richmond, and Western Maine.
(Correction: An earlier version of this article online and on the front page of the March 25 print edition referred to Joris Gomez as Todd Dickson’s girlfriend, as Loretta Perkins identified her. Dickson and Gomez were not in a relationship, according to both Assistant Attorney General John P. Risler and Gomez’s defense attorney, David A. Sinclair. The Lincoln County News regrets the error.)