A former Belgrade woman on probation for robbing a shopper of her wallet at Walmart pleaded guilty Tuesday to trafficking in cocaine.

Audra L. Purington 41, now of Augusta, admitted violating that probation and was ordered to serve 30 months that had been suspended from the robbery sentence. On the drug trafficking charge, she was given an additional, fully suspended five-year prison term and three years’ probation.

The drug trafficking charged stemmed from a Maine Drug Enforcement Agency operation where a civilian informant purchased heroin and cocaine from Purington at her Augusta residence on March 13, according to the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General John Risler.

Risler said the informant wore a wire and recorded the controlled buy. The same person made another purchase from Purington a week later, Risler said.

In exchange for the plea to an unlawful trafficking charge, three other charges of aggravated trafficking were dismissed, as well as charges of tampering with a victim/witness.

Also, a reference to a prior trafficking conviction from 2015 was deleted from the complaint.

Risler said the trafficking sentence will begin once Purington finishes the robbery sentence.

In March 2015, she was sentenced on that robbery to an initial two years behind bars with the remainder of the eight-year term suspended during the four years’ probation. At the time, the district attorney said the robbery — in which the victim held on to her purse while Purington tried to pull it away — was caught on surveillance cameras at the Augusta store.

Police at the time said the robbery was part of a series of wallet and purse snatches that occurred in the summer of 2014 in which culprits targeted older women and then used the stolen credit and debit cards to go shopping themselves, making purchases at Walmart, T.J. Maxx and Wendy’s in Augusta.

Conditions of probation prohibit Purington from possessing or using alcohol and illegal drugs, and require her to complete substance abuse and counseling to the satisfaction of the parole officer.

Purington was fined $400 on the drug charge, and the judge indicated that must either paid in October 2020 — when Purington is expected to finish serving the 30-month probation revocation — or Purington must appear in front of a judge at that time.

Purington was represented by attorney Matthew Morgan.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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