PARIS — A Massachusetts man who was identified by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency in 2015 as one of the main drug suppliers to multiple dealers in Oxford County was sentenced Tuesday in Oxford County Superior Court to 15 years in prison, with all but 12 years suspended.

Active-Retired Justice Robert Clifford said that Del Hathaway, 37, would also be required to serve four years of probation, be responsible for $1,600 in fines, and $120 in restitution to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Hathaway was sentenced on three aggravated trafficking in scheduled drug charges and one conspiracy to commit drug-trafficking charge.

MDEA Director Roy McKinney said in 2015 that a piece of information provided by a Maine State Police trooper found as a result of a motor vehicle stop was the impetus that began the two-year investigation by MDEA’s Western District Task Force, starting in November 2013.

Between January 2013 and April 2015, the investigation uncovered 15 suspects whom police believe were responsible for the importation and distribution of 17.8 pounds of heroin throughout Oxford County, the equivalent of 80,000 doses and a street value of $3.2 million, according to a prepared statement from Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

In the course of the investigation, police say, they learned Hathaway was a supplier to multiple dealers in Oxford County.

According to police, Hathaway and Brianna Thayer of Bean Station, Tennessee, were the main suppliers of heroin to Oxford County, and the two identified their supplier as Brian Aquino of Lynn, Massachusetts.

Police later called it the “largest drug investigation in Oxford County history.”

The state had originally recommended that Hathaway receive a 20-year straight sentence, with all but 15 years suspended, but James Howaniec, Hathaway’s attorney, argued that Hathaway should receive a sentence of eight years in prison, with all but four years suspended.

Howaniec argued against testimony that Hathaway had earned a little less than $500,000 over two years selling heroin, and said that a majority of the testimony that the state used to prosecute Hathaway was done while he was under the influence of heroin.

He also said that Hathaway had spent the three years he has been imprisoned trying to better himself by taking classes, finding religion and helping people.

However, MDEA agent Tony Milligan told Clifford that the drug bust in 2015 was the largest heroin distribution network that he had ever investigated.

“I’ve never seen such an egregious case as this,” Milligan said.

Milligan added that during Hathaway’s testimony, he admitted that “his sole reason for coming to Maine was to make money by selling heroin.”

Assistant Attorney General David Fisher said, “Public safety is our No. 1 concern when determining sentencing,” and that Hathaway should be sentenced as recommended by the state.

Clifford said that while he appreciated the work that Hathaway had done to improve his life and get sober, “I also have to take into account the very serious nature of the crime.”

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Del Hathaway (Oxford County Jail)

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