November 8, 2012

Police GPS tracking device leads way to drug trafficker's guilty plea

Terry V. Johnson, 54, of Litchfield, was tracked between his home, Lewiston and Somerset County

By Betty Adams
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA -- A Litchfield man pleaded guilty Thursday to trafficking in marijuana in a case in which police installed a GPS device to follow the trail of the drug from a growing site to his home.

Police found 15 pounds of processed marijuana when they searched the Litchfield property of Terry V. Johnson, 54, on Oct. 20, 2011, Assistant District Attorney Brad Grant told a judge Thursday in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Another man, Mark A. Belisle, 52, of Lewiston, was indicted in federal court on a charge of possessing a handgun that was used in connection with intent to distribute marijuana. He pleaded not guilty to both counts in U.S. District Court in Portland and remains free on bail.

Justice Donald Marden agreed to have Johnson sentenced at a later date. Grant told the judge the maximum sentence to be recommended would be four years in jail, with all but six months suspended, four years of probation, and a $400 fine.

Johnson, 54, also agreed to forfeit $6,200 of $8,700 that was seized from his home that day.

As soon as Terry Johnson's hearing ended, Johnson's wife, Donna Johnson, 53, pleaded no contest to unlawful possession of marijuana and also agreed to forfeit money. She was sentenced Thursday in Kennebec County Superior Court to 180 days in jail, all suspended, and placed on administrative release for a year. She was also fined $400.

Grant said an officer with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency received a tip in 2010 that Terry Johnson and a friend were cultivating marijuana in another county, and the GPS tracking device was used to follow the trips between Lewiston, the Johnsons' property and areas in Somerset County, including Canaan.

Grant said Donna Johnson was not involved in the marijuana business, but was aware that her husband smoked it.

Neither Johnson had a criminal record, attorneys told the judge.

In a separate hearing on Thursday, Steven G. Flannery, 21, of Augusta, was sentenced to 364 days in jail, with all but 21 days suspended, and one year of probation. He pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property and operating a vehicle without a license. Both offenses occurred July 19 in Augusta.

Betty Adams -- 621-5631

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