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Joel was released on April 10th, 2019.  

If you wish to contact him, let us know.

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Write to Joel via:

FCI Otisville – Joel Dudley – Reg. #07499-036

PO Box 1000 – Otisville, NY 10963

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Write to Joel via:

FCI Otisville – Joel Dudley – Reg. #07499-036

PO Box 1000 – Otisville, NY 10963

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Write to Joel via:

Otisville-FCI – Joel Dudley – Reg. #07499-036

P.O. Box 1000 – Otisville, NY 10963

Christopher Ruhlin, owner of Herbal Tea and Tobacco, is shown in the smoking parlor of the Bangor shop.

The man who ran a downtown Bangor smoking lounge for medical marijuana users was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court to a year and a day in federal prison.

Terrence Sawtelle admitted to conspiring with Christopher Ruhlin, the owner of Herbal Tea & Tobacco, to illegally sell marijuana from a dispensary that was not licensed by the state. Sawtelle rented space from Ruhlin and operated 13 Owl’s Club as a hookah lounge for about two years beginning in 2014, according to court documents.

Herbal Tea & Tobacco still operates at 44 Main St. and on Hogan Road in Bangor. The smoking lounge is closed.

Sawtelle, 49, of Bangor and Ruhlin, 49, of Holden pleaded guilty last year to drug conspiracy charges. Ruhlin also pleaded guilty to one count of structuring, or trying to hide cash deposits from bank regulators.

[Bangor head shop owner pleads guilty to pot-growing scheme]

Ruhlin is to be sentenced Tuesday afternoon in federal court in Bangor.

U.S. District Judge Jon Levy said at Sawtelle’s sentencing that the pair not only broke federal law but also did not abide by Maine’s medical marijuana statutes. The rules allow medical marijuana caregivers to grow pot for five people who have the proper paperwork.

Ruhlin and Sawtelle had four patients on the books but used the fifth position as a “floater,” court documents said. The fifth person came to the lounge, immediately became a patient, but once the person left, he or she was no longer considered a patient, and another customer would become the fifth patient.

The pair did not sell marijuana to people who did not have medical marijuana cards but the business was not licensed as a dispensary, according to court documents. In July and August 2016, an undercover confidential informant made three separate purchases of marijuana without the proper paperwork.

At his sentencing, Sawtelle said he was “deeply remorseful” for his actions.

“My foolishness was trusting someone who was not an attorney about the legalities” of dispensing medical marijuana, he told the judge.

[Feds charge owner of Bangor head shop with growing, selling pot]

Sawtelle’s attorney, Charles Hodsdon of Bangor, described his client as a “true believer in the medicinal value of marijuana.” He said that Sawtelle and Ruhlin were lifelong friends when the two decided to open the smoking lounge.

Sawtelle purchased marijuana from Ruhlin and other illegal suppliers. Levy said that an average of a quarter pound of pot per day was sold from the smoking lounge. When the 13 Owl’s Club was raided in August 2016, three pounds of processed marijuana was seized, the judge said Tuesday.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Sawtelle faced between 18 and 24 months in federal prison. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey recommended Sawtelle be sentenced to 18 months in prison. Hodsdon urged the judge to impose a sentence of probation and community service.

In addition to prison time, Levy sentenced Sawtelle to three years of supervised release. By sentencing Sawtelle to a year and a day, he will be able to earn time off his sentence for good behavior. The judge ordered Sawtelle to report to prison March 14.

Three other men who grew marijuana for Ruhlin in Frankfort were sentenced in the case last year after pleading guilty to drug conspiracy charges.

Nicholas Reynolds, 34, of Bangor is serving a six-month sentence to be followed by three years of supervised release. The first six months of his supervised release must be spent in home confinement. He is incarcerated at the federal correctional institute in Berlin, New Hampshire, and is due to be released April 22.

Jeremy Duguay, 35, of Bangor was sentenced last year to two years of probation for his limited role in the operation.

Reynolds and James Mansfield operated an indoor pot farm in a Frankfort warehouse that produced between 5 and 6 pounds of marijuana per month that was sold through the smoking lounge.

Mansfield, 34, of Etna was sentenced last June to a year and a day in prison for his role in the conspiracy. He is incarcerated at a federal facility in Devens, Massachusetts. He is due to be released June 21.

Reynolds and Mansfield grew marijuana at the Frankfort warehouse — a larger, sophisticated indoor grow facility — from October 2010 to August 2016. The warehouse was leased to Ruhlin between December 2010 and November 2013. Ruhlin left the conspiracy in 2014, but sold marijuana grown there by others between May 2014 and Aug. 25, 2016, according to court documents.

In May 2016, law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant at the facility and recovered about 400 marijuana plants, 295 marijuana root balls, and paraphernalia used to manufacture and process marijuana.

The operation would have been illegal under state laws governing medical marijuana.

The maximum sentence on the drug conspiracy charge is 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million.

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Write to Joel via:

FCI Otisville – Joel Dudley – Reg. #07499-036

P.O. Box 1000 – Otisville, NY 10963

Westbrook father of three girls charged for possessing child pornography

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PORTLAND, Maine — A Westbrook man was charged with possession of child pornography Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Portland after a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security discovered him downloading and sharing videos using file-sharing software, according to court documents.

Joel Dudley, 28, said after he was arrested on Monday that he had downloaded an estimated 500 to 600 videos of child pornography “out of curiosity,” according to an affidavit supporting a criminal complaint filed with the court. The Westbrook man said he would delete the videos after viewing them, and he periodically erased his storage drive using “Department of Defense-grade” wiping software, the document said.

Dudley is the father of three girls between the ages of 3 and 8, who were in his custody, according to an application for a search and seizure warrant of the Westbrook man’s apartment.

Investigators frequently inform the Department of Health and Human Services when children live with an individual charged with possession of pornography, according to Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine State Police. Whether the children have been removed from Dudley’s home could not be determined due to privacy laws that seal DHHS cases concerning children from the public.

Homeland Security agent Martin Conley found that Dudley allegedly downloaded three videos of child pornography between May 8 and July 4 using a file-sharing computer program called Ares. One of the videos showed an 8-year-old girl being sexual molested by a woman in her 20s, and the two others portrayed preteen girls engaging in sexual acts, according to court documents.

During the investigation, Saco police Detective Fred Williams reportedly found videos on a DVD of children engaging in sexual acts. The DVD was located on a desk in the office next to Dudley’s bedroom, according to the criminal complaint.

Conley was able to track Dudley using a modified version of the peer-to-peer software that allowed the agent to see an individual computer downloading the videos, according to the application for a search warrant. A grand jury subpoena was submitted to Dudley’s Internet service provider, which confirmed he was one of its users.

The Westbrook man said he ran a computer salvage and repair business called D & W Services out of his apartment — and sometimes from an office in Gray — which accounts for the large amount of computer equipment found on the premises by investigators, according to the complaint. Dudley said that “several other individuals had access to the entire apartment and the computer equipment inside the apartment.”

U.S. Magistrate Judge John Rich III on Tuesday ordered that Dudley temporarily be held without bail. The defendant is scheduled to appear in federal court in Portland on Aug. 27 for a bail hearing.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has asked that Dudley be held without bail pending the outcome of his case.

If convicted, Dudley faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.


Westbrook man sentenced to 8 years for perjury, possessing child pornography

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PORTLAND, Maine — A Westbrook man was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to eight years in federal prison for possession of child pornography and perjury.

Joel Dudley, 30, also was sentenced to 10 years of supervised release, according to the court’s electronic case filing system.

Dudley was convicted in two separate trials in federal court in Portland. A jury found him guilty in February of possessing more than 500 videos containing child pornography, according to court documents. The titles of many of them indicated they depicted incestuous acts between adults and children.

In April, a jury convicted him of making a false declaration before a court, according to court documents. Jurors found that Dudley falsely testified that he had repeatedly invoked his right to counsel during an interview with law enforcement agents, but that the agents had continued to question him in violation of his constitutional rights.

After he was arrested in August 2012, Dudley told police that he had downloaded an estimated 500-600 videos of child pornography “out of curiosity,” according to court documents. The Westbrook man said he would delete the videos after viewing them, and he periodically erased his storage drive using “Department of Defense-grade” wiping software.

U.S. District Court Judge George Singal sentenced Dudley to eight years on the child pornography charge and five years on the perjury charge to be served at the same time.

Dudley faced up to 10 years in prison on the child pornography charge and up to five years in prison on the charge of making a false statement. He also faced a fine of up to $250,000 on each charge.

(Joel is due to be released this April.)

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Write to ‘Bishop’ Joel via:

F’CI Otisville – Joel Dudley – Reg. #07499-036

PO Box 1000 – Otisville, NY 10963

STORYFEBRUARY 04, 2019

More than 1,600 prisoners at a Brooklyn federal detention center were forced to endure freezing temperatures during last week’s polar vortex, with no heat, no light, no hot water for showers and no hot meals. Demonstrators rallied throughout the weekend to protest the conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center, which is run by the Bureau of Prisons. Prisoners communicated with protesters by banging on the jail windows. On Sunday afternoon, some of the protesters, including family members of those incarcerated, were pepper-sprayed by guards. Democracy Now! was there on the ground. By 6:30 p.m., officials said electricity was restored. We speak with Brad Lander, a New York city councilmember who spoke with prisoners and prison officials this weekend.

Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman. We end today’s show here in New York, where more than 1,600 prisoners at a Brooklyn federal detention center were forced to endure freezing temperatures during last week’s polar vortex, with no heat, no light, no water for showers, no hot meals.

Demonstrators rallied throughout the weekend to protest the conditions at Metropolitan Detention Center, which is run by the Bureau of Prisons. Heat issues at the facility have been ongoing. Officials said the electricity problem was caused in part by a fire the previous week and that the jail had switched over to emergency power. Legal Aid Society said it wrote to the jail’s warden as early as January 22nd to demand heat be restored, before temperatures arrive that were, quote, “dangerous to human life.”

As the news of the conditions spread, crowds of protesters gathered outside the prison, known as MDC. Prisoners communicated with them by banging on the jail windows. On Sunday afternoon, some of the protesters, including family members of those incarcerated, were pepper-sprayed by guards. Democracy Now! was there and spoke to family members, activists, including Women’s March co-chair Linda Sarsour.

PROTESTER: Let them know that you are happy that we are here for you. Bang on those windows!

LINDA SARSOUR: A group of activists, organizers and family members have actually been out here since yesterday. Many of us slept overnight here, on the ground here in front of MDC.

We have been figuring out a communication system that works really well with the incarcerated brothers that are inside. And we ask them questions, and they answer by banging on the windows. And it’s been in unison, literally. Like, yes, yes, everybody’s yes. If it’s no, no. And the fact that they’re not in the same cells together and can answer questions makes us believe that what they are telling us is to be true. We just watched some incarcerated folks actually recognize their families’ voices and started talking to us through a different area up here. We have videos of people talking to their moms: “I hear you, Mom. I see you, Mom.” It was really heartbreaking to watch people have to talk to their family members. They were not wearing shirts. It’s cold. And we know they don’t have heat inside.

One of the mothers went to confirm that that was her son who was talking to her in there without a shirt. She went inside with some folks. Next thing you know, the CO started beating people up and throwing people on the floor, pepper-spraying the mom and all the people, the media. They were—picked up cameras, and they were throwing them out, people falling down the stairs. It was really horrible to watch it happen. And all the mom wanted to do is go in and to confirm if that was her son speaking to her from this other undesignated area that we don’t even know what this area is. He was climbing up on the gate of the window. It’s horrible.

The warden has been not responsive. Yesterday, the Mayor’s Office delivered trucks of blankets for everyone, generators. And they—lawyers from Federal Defenders went inside to see their clients, and asked them, “Did you get blankets?” No blankets. None of these people have gotten blankets. Yesterday, they told us, at 6:00 is when they got their first meal of the day. They’re not getting hot meals. They don’t have hot water. I mean, this is inhumane. It’s cruel. There are people in there who have asthma, who are not able to have use nebulizers, people who have sleep apnea machines, who are not able to have those apnea machines during the night, which means that they are at high risk of stroke. There are people with diabetes that are in there. There are older folks in there, people who need medication, who have not had any access to medical care. I mean, this is outrageous. And the issues with the families is, you don’t even know if your family member is alive. I mean, that’s the issue here.

JUMAANE WILLIAMS: What surprised me the most in there—

AMY GOODMAN: New York City Councilmember Jumaane Williams.

JUMAANE WILLIAMS: —was the blatant disregard of urgency of anything that was going on. Things happen. Emergencies happen. But you have a plan. They had no plan and didn’t seem to care. We asked them about what’s going on to get the heat properly regulated. The warden said the contractor left and went home. What are you talking about? Get another contractor and get this fixed like it was your house. We asked the warden why he would not receive the blankets and the generator that the Office of Emergency Management in the city was not accepting. He had no excuse. He said, “We didn’t. Maybe we will now,” because it was an emergency. It was an emergency on Sunday when it happened. What are you talking about?

What’s happening there is a microcosm of this country. That man in the White House and the people who continue to support him, all of them, don’t even know where the kids are that they separated from the border. Those are melanated children. That’s why they lost them. The majority of people here are melanated, so they don’t care. Even the ones that aren’t are from the poorer communities, so they don’t care. But we care. And we are going to stay here until this gets resolved. And if we’ve got to shut some stuff down, we’re going to shut it down.

ELIZABETH: Name is Elizabeth. I’m here for my brother Jason, who has been here at MDC for the past five years. This condition with the heat is not new. It happened last year. But fortunately for Jason, he has family that sends him money, and he can buy what he needs to layer up and have blankets and food and resources.

I’m here because, one, I want my brother to know I love him; two, I do not want this problem to keep going on. God forbid if the temperatures plummet again. You know, I’m really worried about his health. We contacted his attorney and demanded that he find out what’s going on.

You know, this has been an ongoing issue, that the power went out last year for like three, four days and that the heat went out three, four days last year. You know, so—and it’s disgusting. And when Nydia Velázquez came out, she was saying that there were wet mattresses from leaks in the ceiling and crumbling conditions in ceilings and things like that. It’s just—it’s disgusting. And we can only imagine the vermin and the rodents and everything else. You know, so, again, it’s disgusting.

But, you know, this has restored my faith in humanity. It’s really made me very proud to be a New Yorker. No one wants to see any human beings suffer, especially knowing what we know about sentencing, extreme sentences and mistreatment of people, you know, especially when so many of these people here haven’t even really been convicted of anything, not that that makes a difference, but they’re just waiting because they’re poor, you know, and they can’t afford bail. So, it’s unfortunate, but it is what it is. So, thankfully, everybody showed up for them.

AMY GOODMAN: Voices from the protest outside MDC, Metropolitan Detention Center. Special thanks to Tey-Marie Astudillo and Ariel Boone for that report.

Around 6:30 p.m. Sunday, officials said electricity restored, but many cells still lack heat. As protesters gathered outside, many lawmakers toured the Metropolitan Detention Center. One of them, who was standing next to Jumaane Williams, the city councilman who was speaking outside, was Brad Lander, a New York city councilmember. He’s with us now.

We have very little time. Has the electricity been restored?

BRAD LANDER: The electricity was restored last night at 6:30, about one full week after it had gone off.

AMY GOODMAN: But people are still reporting they’re freezing.

BRAD LANDER: It’s cold in that facility. It’s going to take more changes to make it warm enough on the coldest days.

AMY GOODMAN: How could there have been no plan, with this polar vortex this week, with people freezing inside?

BRAD LANDER: The whole thing, no plan for an emergency provision. And when the power went off a week ago, last Sunday, they did not act with any urgency. They could have had an emergency plan. If there had been a round-the-clock contractor in there, power could have been back on by Tuesday.

AMY GOODMAN: This is a federal prison. Mayor de Blasio sent in hundreds of blankets. They didn’t distribute them?

BRAD LANDER: There was just, from the staff, from the prison officials, from the facilities manager, no sense of urgency, no sense that there were human beings in those cells who had the right to talk to their families, who needed light. You know, they were eating in the dark. You know, their toilets are in their cells. They were in there. They couldn’t shower for 48 hours. It was really a nightmare.

AMY GOODMAN: Who is responsible for this?

BRAD LANDER: Federal Bureau of Prisons. Federal Bureau of Prisons.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, Jerry Nadler is head of House Judiciary Committee.

BRAD LANDER: Yes, he is.

AMY GOODMAN: He was in there both days this weekend.

BRAD LANDER: And he was in there with me on Saturday and Sunday. And he says he is going to have hearings and make sure this gets fixed.

AMY GOODMAN: New York City Councilmember Brad Lander, thanks so much. I’m Amy Goodman. Thanks for joining us.

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Political Prisoners

Welcome to the blog from inmates of Maine's jails and prisons.

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