Fighting with a Maine State Police trooper in the travel lane of Interstate 295 to try to get his drugs back has cost a South Portland man two years behind bars.

Andre R. Hicks Jr., 27, of South Portland, pleaded guilty Tuesday to assault on an officer and unlawful possession of heroin on May 5 in Gardiner.

He was one of two men who pleaded guilty Tuesday to offenses in which state troopers were victims. The men were sentenced at separate hearings at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta.

In the other incident, Ian Hamilton Watson, 28, of Mount Vernon and formerly of Farmingdale, pleaded guilty to burglarizing a garage at a state trooper’s home in West Gardiner and was sentenced for that and other offenses.

In the Hicks case, Assistant District Attorney Alisa Ross said Hicks was a passenger in a vehicle stopped for speeding on Interstate 295 by Trooper Mark Ferriera.

Ferriera smelled marijuana and had the driver and Hicks exit the car, saying he was going to search for drugs.

“The defendant said he was not going to jail and he had drugs,” Ross told Judge Eric Walker at the hearing. “He lowered his shoulder and ran at the trooper.”

Ross said Hicks pushed the trooper into the travel lane during the fight and at one point the trooper tried to pin Hicks against the vehicle.

Ferriera used pepper spray on Hicks and put handcuffs on him after receiving aid from two passing motorists who stopped to help.

Hicks later said, “I’m sorry. I was wrong,” Ross said, and told the trooper that he had just gotten off probation and gotten on drugs.

Hicks’ defense attorney, William Bart, said his client wished to accept responsibility. Bart said Hicks admitted his actions to officers at the scene and that the drug problem will be addressed in prison.

Walker imposed the split sentence recommended by the attorneys: a four-year sentence with two years to be served initially and the remainder suspended. He also imposed a two-year probation and fined Hicks $400.

Walker told Hicks that he created “an extremely dangerous situation on the side of the road” and that he could have been shot. He also said he was concerned about Hicks being on probation since he had been on probation previously on robbery and drug trafficking charges and it had not gone well.

In exchange for the pleas, the district attorney’s office dismissed a charge related to the 12 oxycodone pills officers found with the heroin as well as a separate charge of sale and use of drug paraphernalia. Hicks was ordered to pay $1,720 restitution for damage to the trooper’s uniform and cruiser. Ross said the trooper suffered abrasions in the incident.

The state is not pursuing forfeiture of more than $10,000 in cash found in the car and on Hicks. Ross said the state did not have evidence to tie it to drug trafficking.

Hicks remains free on $10,000 cash bail and is to report to the Kennebec County jail on July 28 to begin his sentence.

Watson pleaded guilty to burglarizing the garage of Trooper Timothy Black and stealing a kayak, two mountain bicycles, ammunition and items marked as Maine State Police property. Watson also pleaded guilty to operating under the influence and violating conditions of release, which occurred Saturday night after he was stopped in Augusta for a headlight that was not working. He had been free on bail on the burglary charge.

Walker imposed the split sentence recommended by both Ross and Watson’s attorney, Thomas J. Carey. Watson was ordered to serve an initial 60 days in jail, and the remainder of the three-year prison term was suspended. He was also placed on probation for two years and ordered to pay $1,416.86 restitution, to which two codefendants would be ordered to contribute if they were convicted, Ross said. Watson also was fined $500 for the drunken-driving conviction, and his license was suspended for 150 days.

Ross said Black discovered the break-in on May 14, when he found the garage door kicked in and realized a number of items were missing, including bullet-proof vests.

Ross said Black would have preferred a longer sentence but supported the recommendation.

Ross said the trooper told her, “When they went back a second time, they knew it was a trooper’s house. They had all the memorabilia.”

Watson was charged after Black found that the stolen kayak was being offered for sale on Craigslist. That led investigators to a codefendant, Dustin Woodworth, 29, of Augusta.

Two other people were sentenced Tuesday in separate hearings at the Capital Judicial Center:

• Jessie M. Hayes, 43, of Windsor, assault April 25 and violating condition of release July 17, both in Windsor; 364-day jail sentence, all but 72 hours suspended, credit for 72 hours served, one-year administrative release, $300 fine.

• Dorian J. White, 27, of Manhattan, New York, unlawful possession of oxycodone and criminal forfeiture of $14,261 Jan. 3, 2014, in Waterville; unlawful trafficking in crack cocaine Sept. 25, 2013, and being a fugitive from justice July 21, 2015, in Augusta; two-year prison sentence, $800 in fines. White also waived extradition and will return to New York once he has finished serving his sentence.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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