PORTLAND — A Buckfield woman trying to sell her brother’s cocaine to raise money for his bail on drug charges was sentenced on a drug charge Tuesday in federal court.

Jaime Morin, 33, appeared with her attorney via videoconference in U.S. District Court, where a judge sentenced her to the 4½ months she spent in jail awaiting trial on a Class C felony charge of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

The charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

According to sentencing guidelines, Morin was facing between 21 and 27 months in prison for the crime.

But U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Torresen said Tuesday that a combination of factors swayed her to impose a more lenient sentence. She said she considered Morin’s fragile state of mental health, her successful substance abuse rehabilitation and the uncertain effect of the coronavirus pandemic on programming and health measures at federal prisons.

Morin pleaded guilty to the drug charge in January.

After Morin’s brother, Joshua, was arrested Jan. 2, 2019, with a large amount of cocaine and cash, authorities concluded they hadn’t confiscated all of the drugs Joshua Morin possessed, according to court documents.

In recorded jail calls between Morin and his sister and his girlfriend, he told them to retrieve the undiscovered cocaine from another sister. His girlfriend did that, plus she took back drugs from a nonpaying customer, and gave those drugs to Jaime Morin.

“Jaime made the stupid mistake, as she now admits, of taking Joshua’s cocaine and beginning to sell it to raise his bail money,” her attorney, John Van Lonkhuyzen, told the judge Tuesday.

On Feb. 1, 2019, during a traffic stop in Lewiston, police noticed Morin had a 25-ounce beer in the center console, according to a police affidavit.

She told the officer she didn’t have any drugs in the car.

Later, while standing outside the car, Morin was told a drug-sniffing dog would be checking her and her car. She objected and struggled to get back into her car.

After she was handcuffed, the officer began a pat-down when he noticed in a coat pocket a knife and a large bag of white powder that was later determined to contain roughly an ounce of cocaine. In her other pocket, he found a digital scale with white residue. He arrested her.

The dog alerted to a bag inside the car that contained more than 300 grams of suspected cocaine that had been divided into smaller bags, according to the affidavit.

In all, she had just over 400 grams of cocaine and more than $2,000 in cash. It was later determined that she had legally collected roughly $700 of that cash from Social Security. The rest was forfeited.

Since her arrest, Morin has undergone drug rehabilitation and been treated for myriad mental illness diagnoses, including bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Two counselors spoke at her sentencing Tuesday, praising her honesty and efforts at kicking her long-term substance abuse addiction.

“She’s just not the same person she was previously who committed this crime,” said Catherine Clough-Bell, a therapist at Crooked River Counseling. “She’s remarkable!”

Diane Scalia, a therapist at Blue Willow Counseling, told the judge that Morin was “very motivated” and had “worked very hard” to make progress in her addiction recovery. “I don’t see how incarceration would benefit Jaime or society.”

Her attorney documented Morin’s dysfunctional upbringing, noting her parents were both alcoholics who provided little if any adult supervision, and her father was in and out of prison most of her childhood.

She had been molested as a toddler by a family member and placed in foster care before starting elementary school. She has an eighth grade education level.

At age 11, she lived with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend after her parents’ divorce. There, she served as one of her mother’s “drinking friends until age 13, when she moved out to live with her 17-year-old boyfriend” and started smoking crack cocaine, according to Van Lonkhuyzen, who urged the judge against imposing further time behind bars for his client.

“You were set up for a life of having to deal with trauma,” Judge Torresen told Morin. “I’m very concerned about your mental health issues.”

Besides time served, Torresen sentenced Morin to three years of supervised release.

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