PORTLAND — An Auburn woman labeled a “career offender” because of her long history of drug trafficking convictions was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Ashley Gleason Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office

Ashley Gleason, 30, appeared in U.S. District Court in an orange jail suit where Chief Judge Jon D. Levy told her she had been “living the life of a drug addict” by supporting herself through illicit drug sales even after several convictions for trafficking.

She violated terms of probation and supervised release repeatedly due to her addiction, he said.

With a GED and more than a year of community college, Gleason appears to have the ability to “make it” in society if she were able to maintain sobriety, Levy said.

“I am convinced she does wish to be clean,” he said.

But Levy also noted her history of failing at drug rehabilitation efforts as well as having relationships with major drug dealers and trafficking significant amounts of dangerous drugs herself.


“What we’ve done to date has not worked,” he said. “You pose a danger to other people.”

Prosecutors said agents arranged a controlled undercover purchase of fentanyl from Gleason on May 6, 2021, at an Auburn home.

Later that month, a Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office deputy discovered Gleason sitting in a car at a stop sign shortly after 4 a.m., its headlights off, a missing rear bumper and flat tire.

She said the car had crashed on I-95 and she was seeking to get to a parking lot.

The deputy said Gleason consented to a search of the car. During the search, the deputy found cocaine and methamphetamine, most of it discovered in her purse.

The deputy recovered 146 grams of methamphetamine and roughly 110 grams of cocaine, according to a prosecutor’s court document.


In a grand jury indictment, Gleason was charged with two counts of distribution of fentanyl and a charge of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine.

In February, she pleaded guilty to one count of distributing fentanyl and to the methamphetamine charge.

In entering her plea, she agreed not to appeal a sentence of 10 years in prison or less.

Prosecutors were seeking a sentence of 140 months; the defense, 87 months.

Her attorney, Matthew Morgan, wrote in court papers that his client first used marijuana when she was 9 and alcohol when she was only 12, drinking until she “blacked out.” She then moved on to abusing prescription opiates around 14 and cocaine at 15.

Gleason had been addicted to heroin or fentanyl since age 17.


“She was a drug addict selling drugs as part of an unhealthy relationship with an abusive boyfriend,” Morgan wrote.

“Despite her efforts to make positive life changes after her last conviction, Gleason unfortunately wound up back in front of this court with many of the same demons she brought last time,” he wrote.

During her most recent release from prison, Gleason had maintained her sobriety for more than six months, Morgan said Wednesday.

When Gleason was 14 years old, her father died from complications from alcoholism and liver failure, Morgan wrote in court papers.

At age 16, she became romantically involved in an abusive relationship with a convicted felon, an action that started a pattern of abusive relationships with men “centered around drugs,” Morgan wrote.

She has two young children from one of those relationships, Morgan wrote.


In 2019, she appeared to be making a change, holding down a job for nearly a year and stable housing for herself and her children, Morgan wrote.

When her kids went off to school, she became lonely and slipped back into drug use and relationships with men who physically abused her, requiring hospital visits, Morgan wrote.

“Even in the grips of this extreme addiction, Gleason was able to see that she needed help at times. In the six months leading up to her arrest in this matter, Gleason thought about dying ‘a lot’ and felt hopeless in the face of her drug addiction,” Morgan wrote.

Starting in early 2021, she tried several times to achieve sobriety, once at a rehabilitation center in California and twice by going to a local hospital, Morgan wrote.

During her recent incarceration, she removed herself from suboxone in an effort to qualify for a therapeutic program in jail.

Judge Levy ordered Gleason be able to access a substance abuse treatment program while in prison and imposed five years of supervised release for her after her release.

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