Kenneth Robinson, one of 21 people charged in a conspiracy that brought drugs from New York to the central Maine area, was sentenced Monday to more than eight years in federal prison.

Robinson, 46, of New York, received one of the longer sentences in the case. He had pleaded guilty in March 2013 to conspiracy with intent to distribute and to distributing oxycodone.

According to a press release from U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty II, Robinson supplied the oxycodone to Maurice McCray who distributed the drugs through a network of people in Kennebec and Somerset counties. Prosecutors say Robinson got the money from McCray or via McCray’s mother to buy the oxycodone pills that would be sent to McCray in central Maine. Court documents indicate the conspiracy operated Jan. 1-March 17, 2012, and involved couriers traveling from New York to Maine via train and bus.

In sentencing memos, Robinson’s attorney, Peter Rodway, urged the judge to discount McCray’s testimony that Robinson had sold him drugs as early as May 2009 and to find that Robinson sold McCray 2,000 oxycodone pills over 20 trips. The quantity of drugs involved is used to help set the guideline sentence.

In a sentencing memo by the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey, says Robinson began selling drugs to McCray in May 2009, halting for periods when McCray was in jail and that “by the time the government initiated its wiretap, McCray owed the defendant a substantial drug debt.”

McCray, who was living in Waterville when he was arrested, pleaded guilty in March 2013 to distributing oxycodone and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of oxycodone and 500 grams or more of a mixture containing cocaine, but has yet to be sentenced.

Much of the evidence against Robinson was obtained from wire and electronic communications between Robinson and McCray and other co-conspirators, according to documents filed in the case. Federal drug agents watched defendants, their homes, their vehicles and their girlfriends for about six weeks before making arrests March 22, 2012. Investigators heard references to a $120,000-$150,000 drug debt owed by McCray; however, attorneys argued in writing over whether that was to Robinson alone or to others as well.

Robinson, who was arrested on the drug conspiracy charges in May 2012 in New York, was sentenced on Monday to 100 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

Federal and state agencies cooperated in the investigation, according to Delahanty.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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