A Sanford man who was the subject of an FBI manhunt last fall pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to distribute more than 40 grams of fentanyl.

Joshua Patrick Weldon FBI photo

Joshua Patrick Weldon, 26, remains in federal custody pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

Weldon had been in federal custody on the drug charge following his initial arrest in August 2018, and he was released on Oct. 23, 2018, on $10,000 unsecured bond, with the provision he reside at a sober house and be subject to pretrial supervision.

The FBI said Weldon failed to show up at a sober house on Oct. 24, and to a probation appointment on Oct. 25, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was apprehended 24 days later, on Nov. 16, outside The Depot, a convenience store on Pleasant Street in Springvale.

Weldon had been described by the FBI as “armed and dangerous,” though it was unclear if he possessed a weapon when he was taken into custody.

At least three other people have been charged in connection with the fentanyl operation.

According to prosecutors, Weldon and the others would travel to Lawrence, Massachusetts, to pick up fentanyl, which he would allegedly turn over to another person to sell. That individual would deliver proceeds from the sales back to Weldon. Sometimes, the fentanyl was delivered to him in Maine.

An undercover agent purchased fentanyl from one of the people Weldon supplied at least five times, according to the court documents. Prosecutors said the operation took place from April through July 2018.

Weldon had been scheduled to change his plea to guilty in May, but that hearing was canceled. A federal judge approved the withdrawal of Weldon’s attorney from the case that day, and another attorney was appointed, according to court records.

Weldon could be sentenced to as much as 40 years on the drug charge, according to federal court documents. It is unclear if a sentencing agreement has been worked out.

The FBI’s Southern Maine Gang Task Force, the Sanford Police Department, Maine State Police and the York County Sheriff’s Office investigated.

Weldon’s criminal history includes a conviction in York County Superior Court in Alfred in 2014 on Class B felony theft and burglary charges, for which he was sentenced to three years in prison, with all but 60 days suspended, along with two years probation. He was also ordered to pay $750 restitution. He was also convicted of misdemeanor theft in 2013 and 2014 and violating conditions of release in 2014.