Joshua Morin of Buckfield is taken into custody at the intersection of North Hatch Hill and Sawyer roads in Greene on Jan. 2, 2019, after a chase through several towns before he crashed into the ditch at right. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo

PORTLAND — A federal judge Monday sentenced a Buckfield man to more than eight years in prison for possessing more than a kilo of cocaine he intended to sell last year.

Joshua Morin, 33, was arrested Jan. 2, 2019, in Greene following a high-speed police chase and seizure of the drug. He pleaded guilty in June 2019 to possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.

The Class B felony is punishable by five to 40 years in prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Torresen imposed a 100-month sentence on Morin during a 2½-hour hearing Monday, telling him he needs to work on his problems of mental health, substance abuse and criminal thinking.

She pointed to his long history of drug abuse that included dealing while a participant of a special drug court program designed to divert drug abusers from incarceration.

Judge Torresen said she “can’t stand” that type of behavior.

Morin also had tried to deal drugs from behind bars, she noted.

Prosecutors and the defense had jointly recommended a sentence of 179 months in prison, though Morin’s attorney, Dylan Boyd, argued she could “reasonably and appropriately” impose a lesser sentence.

Morin read aloud in court — interrupted often by sobs — a roughly hourlong statement describing his life that began with a childhood in a dysfunctional family where alcohol and sexual abuse scarred him from a young age. He began drinking alcohol at age 8 and moved onto illegal drugs soon after in an effort to cope with his traumatic environment that included being in and out of foster care. He had dropped out of school by the 10 grade, but later earned a certificate that is equivalent to a high school diploma.

While in state care, Morin was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, panic disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, he said.
By age 20, he was smoking crack cocaine with his often absent and incarcerated father, he said.

“I’ve heard you and know what you’re saying is heartfelt,” Torresen said. “You’ve had a tough upbringing, no doubt about it.”

She said his self-medication with alcohol and illegal drugs had been an attempt to “kill the pain.”

But he also made many bad decisions when faced with an opportunity of veering from the criminal path he had gone down. He hadn’t merely drugged himself over the years, Torresen said.

His drug dealing had been “responsible for bringing a lot of it into this state,” where it impaired the lives of many others, she said.

His criminal history includes felony convictions for burglary, theft, escape and drug trafficking.

On Jan. 2, 2019, an Oxford County Sheriff’s deputy approached the car Morin had been driving for a traffic infraction. Morin apparently panicked and drove off.

He led authorities on a high-speed chase often reaching speeds of 85 mph into Androscoggin County and ending in Greene after authorities deployed a spike mat that he tried to avoid and drove his Nissan sedan into a ditch at the intersection of North Hatch Hill and Sawyer roads.

He fled on foot with two plastic-wrapped packages tucked under his arm containing a “hard chunk substance” later identified as cocaine.

Authorities also recovered at the scene a package of cocaine and a stack of cash wrapped in clear plastic containing more than $20,000.

The value of the roughly 3.5 pounds of cocaine was estimated to have a street value of at least $160,000, according to drug agents.

He told agents he sold the drugs in half-ounce and one-ounce quantities.

Judge Torresen echoed Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Hill’s complaint that the car chase put the public at risk as Morin’s car would sometimes cross the centerline into the oncoming lane. Morin nodded his head as the judge described his criminal conduct.

Morin said Monday he had hit “rock bottom” at the time of his arrest, having lost 70 pounds and developed drug-induced psychosis.

“I thought I was living when, in reality, I was dying,” he said.

He said he “never had someone to show me right from wrong” until landing in jail. During the past year at Strafford County Jail in New Hampshire, he has participated in and completed every program for which he’s eligible, he said.

“Life’s not over for me,” he said. “This is the first time in my life that I’ve felt like I’m in control.”

After serving his time in prison, he’ll be on supervised release for four years, Judge Torresen said.

“I think you’re an intelligent person,” she said. “You write well. You should write a book.”

Joshua Morin of Buckfield is taken into custody at the intersection of North Hatch Hill and Sawyer roads in Greene on Jan. 2, 2019, after a chase through several towns before he crashed into the ditch at right. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo


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