BUXTON — The patriarch of a local family whose members engaged in selling heroin and dealing in stolen firearms instructed relatives to continue the business through phone calls he made and letters he wrote them while he was jailed on another charge, said Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Murphy.

Dale Pinkham Sr., 57, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Portland to 20 years in prison following convictions for conspiracy to distribute heroin, conspiracy to possess stolen firearms and attempted witness tampering. He pleaded guilty to the charges late last year.

Pinkham was arrested on the charges in October 2014.

The federal court found that between May 2013 and September 2014, Pinkham was distributing a minimum of 200 grams of heroin per month.

 

 

Three of his sons were involved in the enterprise and were previously sentenced to prison. But before that happened, their father continued to attempt to direct the business.

“While incarcerated, the court found, Pinkham directed family members and co-conspirators to relocate stolen firearms from the Buxton residence to avoid their recovery by law enforcement,” according to the statement from the acting U.S. attorney.

“Writing from jail, Pinkham directed family members to locate and threaten suspected government witnesses, provide false information to law enforcement, and contact his heroin source in Massachusetts in an effort to perpetuate the drug trafficking conspiracy,” according to the statement.

In a sentencing memorandum, federal prosecutor Benjamin Block wrote that the senior Pinkham encouraged his heroin customers to engage in ancillary crime to support their drug habit, “going so far as providing customers with lists of items that they should steal for him.”

Pinkham initially called his family members while incarcerated at York County Jail in Alfred, and then later wrote to them from the Maine State Prison in Warren, said Block.

“Pinkham was particularly interested in acquiring firearms, which he obtained from customers in exchange for heroin or money,” Block wrote. “Many of those firearms were stolen in burglaries around southern Maine. Pinkham also sold firearms to his heroin supplier in Massachusetts in exchange for quantities of heroin. Following his arrest in October 2014, Pinkham engaged in efforts to obstruct justice and threaten witnesses in an effort to avoid or undermine federal prosecution.”

Defense attorney Luke Rioux had sought a 42-month sentence followed by three years of supervised release for his client.

“Mr. Pinkham, like many before him, became addicted to opiates though legitimate therapeutic prescriptions,” Rioux wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “He was prescribed these medicines to deal with pain from bladder cancer and the treatment from that condition. He was on these medications for nearly 13 years and, when his prescriptions ran out, he began using heroin. Heroin led to a profoundly bad turn in Mr. Pinkham’s life and procuring the substance introduced him to a new world of criminality.”

Rioux in the May 24 sentencing memorandum said that Pinkham is now sober and about to complete his three-year state sentence at the Maine State Prison for trafficking in heroin. The conduct leading to that charge is part of the same conspiracy that gave rise to the charges at hand, Rioux said.

The drugs and stolen firearm enterprise began in November 2012 and culminated in a search of the Pinkham property on Hurlin Smith Road on Oct. 11, 2014, resulting in the seizure of seven stolen firearms.

In November 2014, law enforcement agents recovered 11 additional stolen firearms according to the acting U.S. attorney’s statement.

His sons, Dale M. Pinkham Jr., 26, Raymond T. Pinkham, 23, and Robert C. Bean-Pinkham, 21,  pleaded guilty to various charges and were sentenced in 2016.

Dale Pinkham Jr. was sentenced to 64 months in prison for conspiring to distribute heroin, conspiring to possess stolen firearms and possessing firearms as a prohibited person; Raymond Pinkham was sentenced to 52 months in prison for conspiring to possess and possessing stolen firearms; and Robert Bean-Pinkham was sentenced to 40 months in prison on the same charges.

The elder Pinkham’s partner, Louise Cook, whom Block said is the mother of Dale Jr., Raymond and Robert Pinkham, previously pleaded guilty to  conspiracy charges and is scheduled for sentencing for her role in the enterprise on June 29.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]


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