A 33-year-old Augusta woman was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Bangor to 31 months in jail and three years of supervised release for illegal distribution of oxycodone.

Jennifer Dowling had pleaded guilty to that offense on Jan. 27 and was taken into custody. The maximum penalties on the charge were 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Federal 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 was 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 C. Pierce, now 34, of Augusta. Dowling took the agent’s money and then passed the pills to Pierce to give to the informant, McCormack wrote.

Pierce pleaded guilty Oct. 2, 2013, in U.S. District Court in Bangor to distributing oxycodone and aiding and abetting in connection with the same incident and was sentenced to 10 months for that offense.

Later in Kennebec County Superior Court, Pierce received a concurrent sentence of five years in prison with all but two years suspended and three years probation. He pleaded guilty to the May 8, 2012, robbery of a CVS pharmacy on Stone Street and a June 18, 2012, robbery of a 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. Until her guilty plea, she had been free on bail. Her attorney, James S. Nixon, had asked a judge to allow Dowling to remain free on bail following her guilty plea, saying she has been working and is enrolled in college. His written request indicated she has complied with all bail conditions and has undergone drug treatment and recovery. However, that was denied.

Regarding the 31-month sentence Dowling received, Nixon stated in an email, “Chief Judge (John) Woodcock conducted a very careful, thoughtful and thorough analysis and we believe he struck the proper balance in imposing a non guideline sentence that weighed the need to send a message of deterrence while at the same time taking into consideration the defendant’s prospects for rehabilitation. We appreciate the judge’s careful consideration of the sentencing factors in this case.” The guidelines sentencing range in the case was 57-71 months.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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