Resident receives 20 years for trafficking

17 years ago

Caribou resident Bruce Gustafson, 47, will spend the next 10 years sitting behind bars for trafficking methamphetamine to residents of Aroostook County.      On June 26, Gustafson was sentenced to 20 years prison with 11 years suspended for trafficking as well as two six-month sentences for violating the conditions of his bail. He is currently serving out his two six-month sentences in the Aroostook County Jail.
Assistant District Attorney Todd Collins stated that the District Attorneys Office sought the maximum sentence in Gustafson’s case, because drug and alcohol abuse is responsible for approximately 80 percent of the crime in Aroostook County including vandalism, theft, spousal abuse and drunk driving. Collin’s office hopes to “stem the tide” by giving heavy sentences to individuals who are responsible for bringing the drugs into the area.
Collins added that public support is essential to reducing the amount of drug abuse in Aroostook County. “Lawmakers need residents to be vigilant, and to hold individuals who have been a part of the drug problem responsible for their actions when they are called to jury duty.”
Gustafson was the head of one of the largest methamphetamine rings ever busted in Aroostook County supplying drugs to a number of Aroostook Count towns including Caribou, Presque Isle and Houlton according to Collins.
Authorities began investigating the methamphetamine ring in December 2005 and concluded their investigations in February 2006 when they arrested six Aroostook County residents.
The string of arrests began with Willard Putnam, 48, of Houlton who was the first individual to be apprehended. When the state police searched his home, they discovered 5.3 grams of methamphetamines and $2,400 in cash. Putnam’s arrest led to the search of Clyde Malone’s Houlton residence where agents found 2 grams of the drug and $2,400.
The police followed the trail to Allison Dickinson, 50, of Hodgdon where they discovered 24.5 grams of the drug and $3,500. After apprehending three individuals who were allegedly supplied by Gustafson, authorities were able to gather enough evidence to get a search warrant for his home.
In February 2006, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Caribou Police Department, the State Police and the Sheriffs Office raided Gustafson’s Old Washburn Road residence. According to Collins, Gustafson attempted to flee his home with Troy Ayotte of Presque Isle, who was supposedly responsible for driving the drugs to Gustafson’s distributors in Houlton, when the police announced their presence. Police caught the suspects and also arrested Gustafson’s wife Ronda, 47, for possession before proceeding to search the residence. The search revealed 250 grams of methamphetamines, 55 grams of cocaine and $52,500.
Gustafson pleaded guilty to aggravated trafficking of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine, criminal forfeit of $52,500 and two misdemeanors of violating his bail due to two dirty drug test in 2006.
Collins stated that Bruce Gustafson “should be thankful that the case was kept in Aroostook County, because if the district attorneys office had turned the case over to the federal government he would have been facing a minimum of ten years and the maximum sentence of life in prison.”
Ayotte pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking methamphetamine, possession, and violating the conditions of his bail. He will be sentenced on Aug. 13.
Ronda Gustafson was convicted of unlawful possession and was sentenced to 18 months in prison with all but 30 days suspended, a $400 fine, 250 hours of community service and two years of probation. The first five months of her arrest will be served under house arrest. She refused to comment on either her or her husbands sentencing.
Putnam was sentenced to three years in jail with all but fou months suspended with a $1,000 fine and $2,500 in jail cost. Malone and Dickinson were each sentenced to three years with the Department of Corrections  with five months suspended and two years of probation. The men also face $5,000 and $4,000 in jail cost. Putnam, Malone and Dickinson all forfeited the money that was found in their home on the date of their arrest.