Winterport Woman To Serve 4-1/2 Years For Cocaine Dealing

May 21, 2004

Attorney General Steven Rowe announced today that Teresa Sutherland, 37, of Winterport, was sentenced Tuesday in the Kennebec County Superior Court on a charge of aggravated trafficking in cocaine (class A).

Sutherland's charge stems from an investigation conducted by agents from the Bangor, Augusta and Portland field offices of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. Agents followed Sutherland as she drove to the Sheraton Tara Hotel in South Portland. Based upon their surveillance, agents believe she met with Osiris Fernandez of Massachusetts and purchased more than 6 ounces of cocaine powder. Agents continued to monitor Sutherland and Fernandez as they left the Sheraton Tara. Sutherland's car was stopped on I-95, in Litchfield. She was found in possession of 248 grams (over half-a-pound) of cocaine powder, divided into 9 bags, all of which was hidden on her person. If sold in single dose 1 gram units in Maine, the cocaine would have an estimated street value of $24,800. Sutherland admitted to selling cocaine to support her addiction to Oxycontin and admitted to having made prior purchases from associates of Osiris Fernandez. Agents stopped Osiris Fernandez as he drove south from the Sheraton Tara and seized $12,520. Fernandez has also been convicted of aggravated trafficking in cocaine (class A) and is presently serving a 6 year prison sentence. The $12,520 seized was forfeited to the State of Maine as drug money.

Sutherland was sentenced to serve 10 years, all but 4-1/2 years suspended. Once Sutherland has served 4-1/2 years, she will be on probation for 6 years, the maximum period allowed for a Class A offense.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Lara Nomani, and investigated by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency with assistance from the Maine State Police.

Attorney General Rowe said, "This case is disturbing because it involves an opiate addict selling large amounts of cocaine to support her habit. We know that most opiate addicts steal or deal drugs to support their habits. Many, like this defendant, end up in prison. The key to ending drug abuse is treatment. If you are addicted, seek substance abuse treatment now."