Robert Evon, the former owner of Port City Music Hall in Portland who pleaded guilty in New York to a federal charge of smuggling 78 kilograms of cocaine cross-country from California, was hit with another indictment on drug charges this week in federal court in Portland.
The new indictment against Evon comes as prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maine began revealing details in court filings for the first time identifying Evon as the target of a multi-agency investigation using a wiretap last year.
Until the new indictment on Tuesday, Evon, 36, of Portland had not been charged with a crime in Maine in connection with an alleged drug ring here.
He now faces charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to distribute marijuana and possession of the hallucinogen LSD with intent to distribute.
Evon has been in federal custody since July 31, when he was first arrested on the New York charges.
He has since pleaded guilty in federal court in Syracuse, N.Y., for his role in shipping 78 kilograms of cocaine – worth about $2.7 million – from Los Angeles to Vermont in what authorities called an “international drug-smuggling operation.”
He faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison in that case. He is scheduled to be sentenced in Syracuse on July 31, exactly a year after his arrest.
It is unclear why federal authorities in Maine delayed charging Evon until now.
The lead Maine prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Joyce, declined on Friday to comment on the timing of the new indictment or whether other people may be indicted in connection with the wiretap investigation.
No date has been set for Evon to be returned to Maine to face the new charges, Joyce said.
Evon’s attorney in Maine, Neale Duffett, said he contacted Evon’s attorney in New York to inform him of the new indictment.
“The indictment just came down, and obviously it’s a long process in front of us. I’ll be working on the case,” Duffett said in a phone interview Friday.
Duffett said he doesn’t know the reason for the timing of the new indictment.
Joyce also filed a new prosecution document in another criminal case in court in Portland on Friday identifying a Massachusetts man for the first time as the key supplier to Evon’s alleged drug ring in Maine.
James Robbins, 62, of the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, was arrested last October after being indicted by a federal grand jury in Maine on a charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and has been in federal custody since.
But details of the case against Robbins have only come out now after a hearing was scheduled for Monday, when Robbins is expected to change his plea to guilty in court in Portland.
COCAINE SEIZED IN DORCHESTER
Law enforcement officers raided Robbins’ Dorchester home on Aug. 2, 2013, and seized about 500 grams of cocaine, Joyce said in the new filing.
That amount of cocaine would have a street value of about $60,000 if broken down into single grams for sale.
“Following his arrest, (Robbins) admitted that he had supplied Robert Evon with cocaine on approximately four to five occasions. (Robbins) further admitted that he had provided up to 400 grams of cocaine to Evon during a single transaction,” Joyce wrote.
Robbins faces up to 20 years in prison on the charge against him of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
In the New York case, Evon admitted arranging to have two soda vending machines filled with cocaine delivered from Los Angeles to a warehouse in Elizabeth, N.J.
He then had a co-conspirator, Kenneth Irving of South Portland, rent a box truck on Feb. 21-22, 2012, and drive the vending machines to a rented storage facility in White River Junction, Vt., according to New York court records.
PORTLAND MAN ARRESTED
Irving, whom Evon agreed to pay $5,000 for his help, then called a contact in Albany, N.Y., to meet him at the Vermont storage facility, where Irving gave him six large duffel bags taken from inside the vending machines that were filled with cocaine.
Irving’s contact was an undercover DEA agent, court records state.
Irving was sentenced this month in federal court in New York to 57 months in prison.
In the Maine case, Portland police arrested another man, Gavin Joannides, 23, of Portland on June 8, 2013, after learning from a wiretap that he was going to meet Evon at an unnamed bar in Portland to buy cocaine from him. Officers stopped the car in which Joannides was a passenger afterward on Commercial Street and seized nearly 30 grams of cocaine from him, according to court records.
The timing of the wiretap investigation came while Evon was either still the owner of Port City Music Hall or had just recently sold its assets to the company that runs the nearby State Theatre.
Both the Port City Music Hall at 504 Congress St. and the State Theatre at 600 Congress St. are hubs of the downtown Portland live music scene.
The new indictment against Evon reveals few other details, other than that he allegedly committed the cocaine offenses between March and August of 2013, the marijuana offenses between January and August of 2013 and the LSD offense on July 9, 2013.
Authorities are seeking to have Evon forfeit a 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe he allegedly used in the crimes and an undisclosed sum of cash.
As part of a plea deal in the New York case, Evon has already forfeited the house he and his wife, Lesley Evon, own at 374 Spring St. in Portland.
The house has an assessed value of $575,000, according to Portland city records.
Evon faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the charges in the Maine case and a fine of up to $1 million.
Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at: