BY JULIE MANGANIS
---- — SWAMPSCOTT — A 22-year-old former University of New Hampshire student from Swampscott began serving a three-year state prison term yesterday, a month after admitting to dealing the drug Ecstasy to classmates.
Michael McMahon, of 7 Hillcrest Circle, was charged in June 2010 following an investigation that turned up more than 200 Ecstasy pills and more than half a pound of the drug in powder form (often referred to as “Molly”), as well as a gun, in an apartment McMahon was paying the rent for in Danvers.
The police also found $26,000 in cash.
An undercover investigation by state police and the Drug Enforcement Administration had turned up evidence that McMahon and a second man, Dean Dennis, also of Swampscott, had been involved in obtaining five kilograms of the powder form of the drug from Canada, where McMahon has some ties, and sold it within two weeks.
An undercover investigator arranged to meet Dennis, who was not indicted in the case, at a Salisbury restaurant to conduct a transaction.
Police believe many of the deals took place at the University of New Hampshire, where McMahon was a student.
The gun found by police, a Ruger, had been reported stolen in Maine.
The sentence was the result of a plea agreement reached between prosecutor Michael Patten and defense lawyer Neil Hourihan.
It was formally imposed yesterday by Salem Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley.
Patten offered to drop some counts, including marijuana-related charges and a charge of using a firearm in commission of a felony, in exchange for the plea to charges of possessing Ecstasy and MDMA powder with intent to distribute and illegal possession of a firearm.
Hourihan said his client had started out selling the drug to friends in order to support his own habit.
Since his arrest, McMahon has gone through drug rehabilitation, Hourihan said.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.