April 4, 2003

APRIL 4, 2003


Attorney General Steven Rowe reported today that Michael H. Pushard, 31, of
Augusta was sentenced yesterday on three counts of Trafficking in Heroin.
Pushard was charged with selling $270 worth of heroin from his home in
Augusta between August and September, 2002.  The sales were followed by the execution of a search warrant at the home and the seizure of heroin and
$18,000.  The money was hidden in the sofa of the apartment and was intended
to be used for the purchase of drugs later that day. Pushard's supplier,
Juan Taveras of Massachusetts, was intercepted by drug investigators and
found in possession of 18.3 grams of crack cocaine and 499 bags of heroin,
with a combined street value of nearly $20,000. Taveras is presently in
federal custody on these charges.

Pushard pled guilty to the three felony charges and admitted to the
forfeiture of all of the money seized.  Maine Superior Court Justice John
Atwood approved the plea agreement in the case and ordered Pushard to serve
seven years in prison, with all but two years suspended.  Once Pushard has
completed serving his initial two-year prison term, he will be placed on
probation for an additional four years.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Lara M. Nomani, and
was investigated by drug investigators from the Augusta Police Department
and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.  The drug bust was the result of
ongoing collaboration between the two agencies.  The close working
relationship between the two agencies has resulted in a recent decision to
assign an Augusta detective to MDEA to act as a resident MDEA drug agent, in addition to his other duties.  This arrangement was worked out between
George Connick, the supervising officer of the MDEA field office, and Lt.
Dennis Passmore of the Augusta Police Department.  This "resident agent
program" is the brain child of Connick and has been implemented with the
Waldo County Sheriff's Office and the Bath Police Department.

Connick stated: "In these tough economic times, agencies must work together
to maximize limited resources. The resident agent program allows for the
sharing of information, drug investigation expertise and personnel. This
arrangement allows law enforcement to identify and apprehend the major
distributors of hard-core drugs within our communities."