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News Release
June 12, 2003

Correction Officer Pleads Guilty to
Distribution of Heroin

JUN 12--Boston, MA….A Billerica man was convicted late yesterday in federal court of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute heroin.

Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England; Phillip Mahoney, Chief of the Woburn Police Department; Richard Stanley, Chief of the North Andover Police Department; James V. Dipaola, Middlesex County Sheriff and United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan announced today that Mark W. O'BRIEN or North Billerica, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge William G. Young to one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute heroin.

At yesterday's plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the Government's evidence would have proven that O'BRIEN was a correction officer at the Billerica House of Correction during the time period when he agreed with an inmate to distribute heroin into the prison. O'BRIEN contacted an individual who he believed to be a source of supply, but who was in reality a cooperating witness, in order to obtain the heroin. O'BRIEN met with the cooperating witness on one occasion and had a number of telephone conversations during which he attempted to obtain the heroin. Finally, in a meeting on March 26, 2003, O'BRIEN met with an undercover officer, who was acting, as an individual O'BRIEN believed to be working for the source of supply. During the meeting on March 26, 2003, O'BRIEN accepted a quantity of heroin that he intended to smuggle into the Billerica House of Correction, along with oxycontin pills that he accepted as payment.

Judge Young scheduled sentencing for July 22, 2003, at 2:00 p.m. O'BRIEN faces a maximum sentence of 20 years' imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and a $1 million fine. O'BRIEN was arrested on these charges in March of this year and later released from federal custody on a $10,000 unsecured bond. O'BRIEN remains out on bond.

The investigation, initiated by the Middlesex County Sheriff's Office, was conducted by members of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Cross Borders Initiative, in conjunction with the Woburn and North Andover Police Departments. The Cross Borders Initiative of the DEA is a task force based in Lowell, Massachusetts, comprised of Special Agents of the DEA, members of the Massachusetts State Police, and the Lowell, Wilmington and the Salem, New Hampshire Police Departments.

Press Contact S/A Anthony Pettigrew, 617-557-2138

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