FARMINGTON — A Peru woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to criminal conspiracy to buy heroin in Connecticut and bring it back to the region to sell it in 2016.
Lauren J. Leonard, 25, formerly of Industry, pleaded guilty in Franklin County Superior Court to the felony charge that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
She had admitted in August to unlawful trafficking in heroin and importation of illegal drugs in Androscoggin County Superior Court.
If the Franklin County case went to trial, testimony would have been heard that an investigation began when law enforcement received information that Leonard’s boyfriend, Logan White, who had been convicted of drug trafficking in 2013 in Oxford County and was on probation, was again dealing drugs, Assistant Attorney General David Fisher told the court.
Law enforcement used a confidential informant who was wearing a wire and asked about buying heroin from White.
The informant bought the drug in three sales between March and April 2016, at Hannaford in Farmington and Walmart, he said.
White would text the confidential informant that his girlfriend would be traveling out of state to get heroin and bring it back, Fisher said.
A tracking device was attached to Leonard’s car but she switched out cars in Wilton and used another car, he said.
A drug agent received a search warrant to stop the vehicle Leonard drove in late April and to search it for evidence of heroin smuggling, importation and distribution, according to a Maine Drug Enforcement agent’s affidavit filed with the court.
Leonard was traveling back from Connecticut when Maine State Police saw her driving north on the turnpike, followed her and alerted the agent, according to the affidavit. The agent followed the car from Mile 75 in Auburn to Route 4/Center Street in Auburn, where Leonard pulled up to the gas pumps at Cumberland Farms.
Law enforcement officers surrounded the car and executed a search warrant on it. Leonard handed the agent eight bags of dosage units of heroin that were in her bra and told him another 18 bundles of 10 bags each were in the trunk, according to the affidavit.
During a recorded interview, Leonard admitted to smuggling the heroin from Connecticut to Maine and said she and White were intending to sell much of the heroin upon returning to Industry, according to the affidavit.
“Until all this started, she had no record,” Fisher said.
The sentence on the conspiracy charge in the Franklin County case is recommended at six years with all but two years suspended followed by two years of probation, Fisher said. The sentence will be concurrent with the sentence she receives in Androscoggin County.
Attorneys agreed to transfer the Franklin County case to Androscoggin County for sentencing on both cases Oct. 27.
In the Androscoggin case, the recommended sentence is six years on the trafficking charge and five years on the importation charge. The cap on each of the two charges is for her to serve up to two years in prison at the same time with the rest of the time expected to be suspended by a judge.
White, 28, formerly of Rumford and Industry, was convicted in June on drug-related charges.
A Franklin County justice sentenced him to serve 29 months of an eight-year sentence for the unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs and a concurrent two years on the importation charge.
He will start that sentence once he serves the nearly five years left on the 2013 Oxford County conviction followed by three years of probation.