A man convicted of running a drug distribution ring with his daughter for a dozen years in the Dexter area was sentenced April 28 in U.S. District Court to 11 years in federal prison and five years of supervised release.
Roger Belanger, 59, of Corinna, and Kelli Mujo, 41, of Harmony and of Wellington and Central Falls, Rhode Island, were found guilty in August by a jury of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute oxycodone and cocaine.
Between 2002 and 2014, Belanger and Mujo ran a cocaine and oxycodone distribution ring that stretched from Rhode Island to the Dexter area, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a press release.
Belanger had obtained more than 22 kilograms of cocaine and thousands of oxycodone pills in Rhode Island, which were distributed in Dexter and the surrounding communities, according to the Department of Justice.
In addition to those charges, U.S. District Court Judge Jon Levy ordered Belanger to forfeit $6,783 seized by police on Nov. 21, 2014.
Belanger is not Mujo’s biological father, but was described in court documents as her “de-facto father.” Mujo was sentenced March 6 to 14 years in federal prison and five years of supervised release.
They were indicted in April 2015 along with eight others who have since pleaded guilty. Six of them testified last year.
In his closing statement to the jury on Aug. 19, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey, who prosecuted the case, described the drug distribution ring as “an illegal family business” that they operated out of their residences.
Defense attorneys told jurors that investigators had recovered no drugs and had relied on informants who were drug users to make their case against Belanger and Mujo.
Belanger and Mujo faced between 10 years and life in prison on the drug conspiracy charge and a fine of up to $10,000. On the charge of using or maintaining a drug-involved place, she faced up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $500,000.
Co-defendant Mark Tasker, 49, of Dexter was sentenced on March 6 to 10 years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, for his role in the drug ring. Tasker pleaded guilty in July to a drug conspiracy charge and maintaining a drug-involved place.
His son, Greg Tasker, 28, of Stetson was sentenced in December to a year and a day in prison for his role in the drug conspiracy.
Judy Harrison contributed to the report