Published in the March 23, 2017 edition

WOBURN – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and North Reading Chief of Police Michael Murphy have announced that on Friday, March 10, 2017, John McNeil, 57, of North Reading pled guilty to two counts of possession with intent to distribute a Class B substance, distribution of a Class B substance, two counts of possession of a Class B substance and possession with intent to distribute a Class C substance in connection with the defendant operating a drug distribution scheme. Judge Stacey Fortes sentenced the defendant to 18 months in the House of Correction. The sentence is suspended for two years. Judge Fortes also ordered the defendant to undergo a substance abuse evaluation and follow up treatment, to not work with the Department of Public Works and to seek and maintain employment. On March 4, 2016, North Reading Police, following an investigation into allegations of drug distribution by the defendant, set up surveillance outside of the defendant’s home. Police observed an apparent drug deal at McNeil’s home, and proceeded to stop the buyer in his motor vehicle. The buyer stated that he had purchased prescription painkillers from the defendant. North Reading Police knocked on McNeil’s door and entered the home where they observed a scale and packaging materials. A search of the defendant’s home resulted in police discovering various prescription medications and $2,800 cash. The prosecutor assigned to this case was Assistant District Attorney Andrea Kelly.