CONCORD – Richard Stanton, 34, of Hope, Maine pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to multiple charges, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today.
According to court documents and statements made in court, on March 18, 2019, New Hampshire State Troopers stopped a vehicle with a defective taillight. The driver, Stanton, was seen reaching under the front passenger seat as they approached. Due to safety concerns, a trooper asked Stanton to exit and walk to the rear of the vehicle. Stanton initially provided false information about his identity to the officers. Officers later determined his actual identity. He was arrested after officers determined that he had a suspended driver’s license and that he was the subject of outstanding warrants in Maine
Stanton told the officers there was no one to pick up the vehicle roadside. Per their policy, the officers started to inventory the vehicle in anticipation of it being towed. Various drug paraphernalia was located during the search. Additionally, the officers observed an unlocked gun case in the rear seat containing a rifle and several rounds of ammunition. Officers then stopped the search to apply for a search warrant. The following day, pursuant to the search warrant, the vehicle was searched and officers discovered Stanton’s wallet hidden in a compartment along with over 118 grams of heroin secreted in the dashboard. As a previously-convicted felon, Stanton is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition.
On July 24, 2019, Stanton, an uninsured individual, checked into a medical center in Bangor, Maine. Stanton signed a consent to treatment form using another individual’s identity who was a lawful recipient of Maine Care benefits. Stanton received care and generated medical bills to be processed in the other individual’s name.
Stanton pleaded guilty to possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm and ammunition by a prohibited person, and making a false statement in connection with health care benefits.
Stanton is scheduled to be sentenced on March 19, 2021.
“Drug traffickers are involved in a risky business and often arm themselves for protection,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “The result is that they pose a greater danger to the public. Working with our law enforcement partners we will prosecute drug traffickers and keep guns out of the hands of criminals. This defendant’s illegal activities jeopardized public health and safety and led to a well-deserved federal prosecution.”
This matter was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with assistance from the New Hampshire State Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Cole Davis.
This investigation is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.