St. John Valley

Madawaska man pleads guilty to illegally importing drugs

BANGOR, Maine — Tristan Nelson, 39, of Madawaska pleaded guilty in federal court on March 7 to illegally importing methylphenidate, which is commonly sold under the trade name Ritalin, and alprazolam, which is commonly sold under the trade name Xanax.

According to U.S. District Court records, on Feb. 22, 2017, a mail package from the Philippines addressed to Nelson arrived at the Madawaska post office, U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank stated in a press release.

The defendant went to the post office and accepted the package, which contained about 950 methylphenidate pills and about 450 alprazolam pills, according to Frank. Nelson later admitted to police that he bought the pills from overseas and intended to distribute some of them, Frank reported.

Both drugs can be abused and are addictive, according to

Nelson faces up to 20 years in prison, between three years and life on supervised release, and a $1 million fine for importing methylphenidate, according to Frank. He faces up to 5 years in prison and between one year and life on supervised release, and a $250,000 fine for importing alprazolam.  He will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office.

The investigation was conducted by members of the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.  

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