PORTLAND — A Lewiston woman pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to a charge of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

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

Shawna Burch Androscoggin County Jail photo

In a plea agreement reached with prosecutors, Shawna Burch, 21, said she won’t appeal her conviction if she is sentenced up to 135 months in prison.

According to prosecutors, Burch was driving a black Mercedes SUV on state Route 126 in Sabattus on Sept. 6 when a Lewiston police officer pulled her over for not wearing a seatbelt.

The officer was told at the scene that Burch was on bail conditions stemming from drug trafficking charges, prosecutors said in court records.

One of Burch’s bail conditions was that she was barred from having any illegal drugs for which she, her vehicle and home could be searched at random.


During the traffic stop, the officer used a drug-sniffing dog at the scene.

When the dog alerted to an odor of narcotics on the SUV, officers searched the vehicle and found a package that contained what they suspected was methamphetamine that had been hidden under the spare tire in the SUV’s trunk, according to court records.

A second package that contained multiple layers of packing material also was located in the vehicle, specifically in a void in the driver’s side rear quarter panel of the SUV.

After Burch was read her Miranda warnings, she agreed to talk to police, admitting that she had the methamphetamine in the SUV, but hadn’t known how much was left in the vehicle or what police had found, according to court records.

Burch also told police that she distributed the drug.

A trained chemist lab-tested the packages found in the SUV and determined they contained more than 50 grams of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine, according to court records.

Burch had “intended to distribute the methamphetamine and the amount of the substances recovered were consistent with further distribution,” according to a document signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Scott.

She has been held in jail pending the outcome of her case, which was continued for sentencing.

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