A Jefferson woman will serve a year up front of a six-year sentence for trafficking oxycodone in Knox and Lincoln counties.
Carol M. Day, 71, will serve three years of probation after her release. If she violates probation, she could return to custody for up to five years – the suspended portion of her sentence.
Day and her daughter, Kimberly Reynolds, 54, of Waldoboro, were arrested in October 2017.
Superior Court Justice Daniel Billings sentenced Day during a hearing at the Lincoln County Courthouse in Wiscasset the afternoon of Monday, June 10.
At a January hearing, Day pleaded guilty to two counts of class B trafficking, both reduced from class A aggravated trafficking as part of a plea deal. Two additional charges of class A aggravated trafficking were dismissed.
The forfeiture of three firearms was also dismissed since the weapons seized belong to Day’s grandson.
A one-year sentence for the second count of class B trafficking will run concurrently with the first count.
Prior to handing down the sentence, Billings weighed the aggravating and mitigating factors related to the case.
Billings said the mitigating factors of the defendant’s age, health, and minimal criminal record outweighed the aggravating factors, but the breadth of the drug operation and the serious nature of the offense nonetheless warranted prison time.
Billing agreed with the state that prescription drugs such as oxycodone are a major factor in the state’s ongoing opioid crisis.
“It’s a gateway drug. It is a serious substance. This is not a case of selling one’s own prescription or to a small group. This was an ongoing enterprise of buying and selling pills,” Billings said.
Billings cited the amount of money, pills, and firearms present at the time of the arrest as factors leading him to draw this conclusion.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Billings thanked the defendant’s family members, recognizing the emotional testimony they had provided earlier in the hearing.
“Thank you all for being here. I know it is difficult for you,” Billings said.
Billings specifically pointed to the testimony of Day’s grandson, an employee of Maine State Prison, who spoke of the lack of remorse he sees from inmates on a daily basis and the remorse he has seen from his grandmother since her arrest.
The hearing began with a statement from the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General John P. Risler, who argued for a six-year sentence with all but 18 months suspended.
According to Risler, although Day did not traffick heroin or fentanyl, the addictive nature of oxycodone meant her actions were just as damaging and serious.
Risler said it is not uncommon for “middle age and older parents and grandparents” to traffick drugs and “willingly partake in the poisoning of their communities.”
Day’s defense attorney, William Maselli, lobbied for a sentence of probation only, calling on family members and relating the defendant’s years of supporting her family to paint her as a good candidate for probation.
Maselli said the defendant’s health has declined since her arrest. She has suffered multiple strokes, on top of other medical conditions, and has to take 13 medications every day.
“She has lived a long and varied life, most of it based on sacrifice and giving to other people,” Maselli said.
At Maselli’s request, the sentence was stayed until Monday, July 22 at 9 a.m.
Day’s probation conditions prohibit her use or possession of illegal drugs and subject her to random searches and tests to ensure compliance.
Four family members testified on Day’s behalf, including her daughter, son-in-law, grandson, and granddaughter-in-law.
Her grandson, Michael Austin, said he works as a corrections officer at the prison and is a military veteran.
“I see a lot of people who come in and don’t show remorse, and a few that do. My grandmother has shown nothing but remorse. … I don’t believe she is going to do that again,” Austin said.
Day and Reynolds were arrested after a year-long investigation by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency’s Midcoast District Task Force and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Maine Warden Service, and Rockland Police Department assisted in the investigation.
Reynolds pleaded guilty to Class C furnishing oxycodone May 28. Two counts of class A aggravated trafficking were dismissed as part of the plea deal.
Additionally, Reynolds agreed to forfeit $10,104 in cash and a 9 mm handgun seized during the investigation.
Day and Reynolds allegedly sold hundreds of oxycodone pills in Knox and Lincoln counties on a weekly basis, at an average price of $30 per pill, according to a press release issued by the Maine Department of Public Safety at the time of the arrests.
On Oct. 26, 2017, MDEA agents searched Day’s home on Route 32 in Jefferson, seizing 350 30-milligram oxycodone pills, four firearms, and $13,000 in suspected proceeds from drug sales, according to the press release. Day and Reynolds were arrested at the home.
The street value of the oxycodone was about $10,500.