April 12, 2002

APRIL 12, 2002

CHARLES DOW, Director, Communications And Legislative Affairs 207-626-8577

Maine Superior Court Justice Andrew Mead today sentenced Earl Marsh, 51, of Eastport, to six years in prison for the Class A crime Aggravated Trafficking in Schedule W Drugs (oxycodone/Oxycontin) in December of 1999. Marsh sold two 40-milligram Oxycontin tablets to a Maine Drug Enforcement Agency confidential informant. The fact that Marsh had previously been convicted of federal charges involving hashish figured into the length of the sentence imposed today.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Erickson, who prosecuted the case on behalf of the State, said, "The sentence reflects the seriousness of the crime and the seriousness with which repeat drug offenders are treated in the courts." Erickson told the Court during the sentencing hearing that Marsh acquired the drugs by simultaneously seeing four different doctors and using six different pharmacies, none of whom knew the full extent of his drug procurement.

Attorney General Steven Rowe noted, "While this crime warrants the sentence handed down today, it illustrates Maine's need for a system that will alert doctors and pharmacists when data shows a person engaging in risky 'doctor shopping' and 'pharmacy shopping' for the purpose of selling and abusing drugs. Such systems have been successful in combating drug diversion in other states. Where medical professionals have information that allows them to intervene early, it yields greater benefits at a lower cost than long prison sentences."