November 13, 2002

NOVEMBER 6, 2002 LARA M. NOMANI, Assistant Attorney General 207-626-8804

Attorney General Steven Rowe reported today that Rachel P. Gurley, age 26, of Belfast, Maine was sentenced Monday on the class A felony charge of Aggravated Trafficking in Heroin. Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren sentenced Gurley to serve ten years in prison, with all but five years suspended. Once Gurley serves five years in prison, she will be placed on probation for an additional four years.

Gurley's charge stems from an investigation conducted by the Rockland Police Department. On July 25, 2002, Det. Sgt. James Pease arrested Gurley and her boyfriend Jeramy Luszczki outside a local Rite Aid store. Gurley had 50 bags of heroin hidden in her clothing. She told police that she and Luszczki purchased heroin in Massachusetts at a rate of $5 per bag. Over time, she and Luszczki purchased hundreds of bags of heroin, which they imported into Maine and sold in the Rockland area for three times that price. At the time of her arrest, Gurley was on probation from Penobscot County after having been convicted of trafficking in LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. Luszczki was on probation for drug crimes in Massachusetts.

In announcing this sentence, Attorney General Steven Rowe stated: "Heroin is one of the most evil drugs available in Maine. Heroin dealers place society at grave risk. This is clear from the epidemic of drug related burglaries, robberies, thefts and overdoses that continue to plague Maine."

Assistant Attorney General Lara Nomani, who prosecuted the case, said, "Let Ms. Gurley's sentence serve as a warning to those who sell drugs, be it for profit or to support a drug habit. If you are caught selling any quantity of heroin, you should expect a serious sentence that reflects the danger your conduct poses to our communities. Repeat offenders, like Ms. Gurley, can expect little mercy."

District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau said, "This case reflects the good results that occur when experienced drug investigators work closely with a specialized drug prosecutor."