PORTLAND — A New York man pleaded not guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to drug and gun charges and to using a juvenile in a drug operation in Lewiston between September and November.

Christian Dent, 31, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Lewiston is accused of using a person younger than 18, identified in court documents only as D.J., in his crack cocaine distribution ring, according to information posted on the court’s electronic case filing system.

A female juvenile, whose case is sealed, also was scheduled to plead not guilty to a drug possession charge on Wednesday before U.S. District Court Judge D. Brock Hornby, according to information on the public calendar on the court’s website. The same judge who is handling Dent and his co-defendant’s case is assigned to the juvenile’s case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Joyce, who is prosecuting the Dent case, said that he could not comment whether the juvenile in the sealed case is the juvenile named in Dent’s case.

Dent, nicknamed H, pleaded not guilty to one count each of conspiracy to possess and intent to distribute controlled substances, possession with the intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, being a felon in possession of a firearm and using a juvenile in a drug operation.

He and his co-defendant, Troy Jones, also known as Scrap and O, 27, of Jamaica, N.Y., originally were indicted by a federal grand jury in January on drug charges. A superseding indictment that added the count of using a juvenile in a drug operation was handed up April 7.

Jones was not indicted on the gun charge. His arraignment date has not been set.

Dent was arrested Dec. 17 in Lawrence, N.Y., according to information posted on the court system’s website. Jones was arrested Feb. 4 in Queens Criminal Court in Jamaica, N.Y. Both men have been held without bail since their arrests.

If convicted, Dent and Jones face between five and 40 years on the drug conspiracy and drug possession charges and fines of up to $5 million. Dent faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the gun charge.

The men face different sentences on the using a juvenile in a drug operation charge. Dent faces between five and 80 year in prison and a fine of up to $10 million, if convicted, because he allegedly enticed or coerced the young person to sell crack cocaine. Jones faces between one and 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $2 million if convicted on the same count because the drug allegedly involved was powdered cocaine.


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