PORTLAND — A federal judge said Thursday that she was rooting for a Lewiston man she had just sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison for dealing fentanyl.

Adam Uldall Androscoggin County Jail photo

“I know you can do this,” U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Torresen told 39-year-old Adam Uldall, urging him to rehabilitate from drugs while he’s behind bars and after his release.

Uldall had pleaded guilty to three federal charges, including possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and distribution of fentanyl. The synthetic opioid analgesic is similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent.

The most serious charge was punishable by five to 40 years in prison, but the judge lessened his sentence below the minimum due to various factors, including Uldall’s willingness to appear by video and forego being physically in a courtroom.

After his release from prison, he will be on supervised release for three years during which he must undergo substance abuse testing, treatment and therapy.

Uldall’s parents and two sisters attended the videoconference court hearing.

They painted a portrait of a skilled, hardworking, kind and intelligent person when he’s sober.

His mother, Deanna Uldall, said her son had attended college when he came to Texas to live with her, studying to be a personal trainer.

But an urgent call from his fiancée brought him back to Maine. She would soon succumb to cervical cancer, sending Adam Uldall into an emotional tailspin and back to abusing drugs.

“I feel a tremendous loss when he checks out and uses drugs,” his mother said. “When he’s sober, he’s a wonderful person.”

His sister, Meesa Grace, told the judge she would work with her brother after his prison release to teach him coping mechanisms to “help him so he won’t fall through that rabbit hole again.”

Uldall’s father, Bruce, said he is a building contractor and his son is a skilled carpenter who has a job with him when he wants one.

Torresen said it was unusual to see such family support for a defendant.

His attorney, Peter Cyr, urged the judge to impose a three-year sentence, but Torresen said Uldall had already been given several breaks on his prison term due to the pandemic.

While Cyr noted his client was “a victim with respect to this drug as well as a perpetrator,” Torresen pointed out that Uldall had had a negative affect on many people by repeatedly dealing a drug that has become a scourge on his community, his state and the nation.

“You’ve ruined a lot of lives,” she said, repeating Uldall’s words from a statement he read at his sentencing.

According to a presentencing report, Uldall had started using alcohol at age 9 before moving onto more powerful drugs.

By the time he entered ninth grade, he had been charged with a firearm offense that forced him to leave school.

“I’ve made a lot of poor choices the last couple of years,” Uldall said. His chronic drug use caused him to lose his teeth, he said.

He was diagnosed with several mental health illnesses, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and major depression.

“You have got to work on these issues,” Torresen told him, if he’s going to be successful in turning his life around.

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