One of eight people arrested in a drug raid in April 2015 at two locations in Somerset County was sentenced Wednesday to more than 10 years in federal prison for conspiring to distribute oxycodone in central Maine.
Warren Laprell, 55, of Palmyra, had pleaded guilty in January to a charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone, which carries penalties of up to 20 years in prison and $1 million in fines. The complaint said the conspiracy took place between June 1, 2013, and April 16, 2015. He has been in federal custody since Jan. 27, 2017.
In a sentencing memo seeking a longer prison term for Laprell, the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey described Laprell as the leader of the drug distribution ring.
“The scope of the illegal activity here was significant,” Casey wrote. “It stretched from Waterbury, Connecticut to central Maine. It involved the illegal distribution of nearly 15,000 oxycodone 30 mg tablets.”
Casey wrote that Laprell was making $2,000 a week from the operation and “made the decisions regarding the price for the oxycodone he sold in Maine, the timing of the trips to Connecticut, the time and location of the transactions in Maine.”
Laprell’s defense attorney, James Nixon, objected in writing to the government’s characterization of Laprell as a ringleader, saying there was not enough evidence to support it.
Nixon said he would not comment on the hearing.
According to a news release from Acting U.S. Attorney Richard Murphy, search warrants were executed on April 16, 2015, at Laprell’s home “and the residence of one of his associates, Raymond “Ken” Ferris of Detroit, Maine. During the search of Laprell’s residence, investigators found large amounts of prescription pills, drug paraphernalia and five firearms.”
The release indicates Ferris was sentenced to 87 months in prison on May 18, 2016, for his role in the conspiracy.
“The case was investigated and prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s Strategy to Combat the Opioid Epidemic,” he noted in the release.
Betty Adams — 621-5631