Two New York men pled guilty this week in federal court to conspiring to distribute heroin and crack in Portland and Lewiston.

Akeem Cruz, 29, and Lamale Lawson, 28, both of Brooklyn, New York, pled guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to conspiring to distribute and possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine base, or crack, U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced Friday. Lawson also pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of firearms.

A third man, 32-year-old Christopher Rickett of Portland, pled guilty to conspiring to distribute and possession with intent to distribute heroin and distributing heroin.

According to court records, Cruz and Lawson conspired to acquire heroin and crack in New York and distribute it in Portland and Lewiston from 2015 until September 2017. Rickett conspired to bring heroin to Portland from Massachusetts, in court records.

A conspirator, 27-year-old Portland resident Sierrha Frisbie, also known as “Cici”, pled guilty last year to possessing and distributing heroin in the Portland and Lewiston areas, according to court records.

Cruz, also known as “Vye” and “Mello,” and Lawson, also known as “Bishop” and “King Bishop,” each face between 5 and 40 years in prison, a $5 million fine and between four years and life on supervised release, according to Frank. Lawson also faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and supervised release on the firearms offense.


Rickett and Frisbie face up to 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and 3 years to life on supervised release.

Their sentencing dates have not been announced.

The investigation was conducted by the Portland South Portland police departments, Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI. The cases were prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s Strategy to Combat the Opioid Epidemic.


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