Cooperating with police, sober living reduce Laconia meth dealer's prison sentenceBy BEA LEWIS
Union Leader Correspondent
August 14. 2018 10:44AM
LACONIA — A city man who pleaded guilty to possessing nearly eight ounces of methamphetamine with intent to sell could spend as few as 3.5 years behind bars, and will be credited for serving both state and federal sentences simultaneously.
Peter Dauphin, 46, appeared in Belknap County Superior Court on Monday and Judge Tina Nadeau imposed two 3.5 to 7-year state prison sentences to be served at the same time, as well as concurrently with a 50-month federal sentence.
The sentence was held in abeyance until Dauphin is scheduled to self-report to a federal correctional facility in Petersburg, VA., on August 20.
In April, Dauphin pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Concord to five counts of distributing “ice” methamphetamine. In July, he was sentenced to just over four years in federal prison but remained free pending resolution of the state charges.
He was most recently arrested on Oct. 19, 2017, by police working in conjunction with the FBI Safe Streets Gang Task Force acting on a federal warrant. His arrest followed a months’ long investigation into meth sales that included surveillance of Dauphin’s business, Gilford Auto Repair, on Lakeshore Road.
At the time of his arrest, Dauphin was free on $65,000 cash bail on state drug charges. The Attorney General’s Office had previously obtained a forfeiture order to claim $12,000 in cash seized from Dauphin in his 19 Appleton St. home as the alleged profits of drug sales.
He was indicted by a Belknap County grand jury in Aug. 2015 on two counts of intent to distribute a total nearly 39 grams of methamphetamine, and for possessing less than a gram of heroin. Because Dauphin has a prior drug sale conviction, two of the charges were eligible for enhanced penalties, including a potential life sentence.
Defense Attorney Mark Sisti successfully argued that Dauphin, not police, had custody of his car when the police ordered it towed, and as a result the police did not have authority to conduct an inventory search of the vehicle before it was loaded on a flatbed to be taken the several thousand feet to the defendant’s home.
As a result of the judge’s ruling to suppress the evidence, the state appealed to the N.H. Supreme Court who overturned the ruling.
During Monday’s hearing, Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati cited the amount of the highly addictive drugs found in Dauphin’s car and former Laconia home in asking the judge to impose two 6 to 12-year sentences to be served at the same time and also concurrently with the federal sentence.
In support of the concurrent sentences, Agati said, Dauphin has taken responsibility for his crimes and cooperated with police when he was initially arrested, disclosing that there were more drugs and cash stashed at his house.
Last fall, Dauphin successfully completed a 90-day drug treatment program at Phoenix House in Dublin and then returned to the Lakes Region where he graduated from the Nathan Brody Chemical Dependency Program at LRGHealthcare, his defense attorney said. He continues to attend four to five Narcotics Anonymous meetings a week.
Dauphin’s accomplishments are substantial, Sisti said, as he hasn’t been sober in more than 20 years.
“He is looking forward to continuing that,” Sisti told the court.
The attorney asked that Dauphin continue to remain under supervision of federal authorities upon his release as he has developed a relationship with them and benefitted from the treatment programs they have made available to him.
“It sounds like you have taken a lot to steps to put yourself in the right direction,” Judge Nadeau said after imposing the sentence recommended by the defense.