AUGUSTA — A jury on Tuesday convicted an Augusta man of trafficking in heroin, crack cocaine and marijuana after a drug agent entered into evidence three large cardboard cartons chock full of brown marijuana stalks and marijuana leaves seized in a River Street drug raid.

Franklin F. Arbour Jr., 39, was convicted of a host of charges after a jury deliberated for about two hours at the Capital Judicial Center.

During proceedings this week, the jurors craned their necks as Maine Drug Enforcement Special Agent Brian Wastella tilted the heavy box toward them.

“We’re not going to be (passing it) to the jury, correct?” Judge Eric Walker asked.

“Correct,” said the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Katie Sibley.

Instead, Sibley offered photos of the plants and processed marijuana, packets of heroin and lumps of crack cocaine to the nine women and five men on the criminal jury.

Sibley introduced the evidence and questioned Wastella, who is also an officer with the Augusta Police Department, on Monday, the opening day of the Arbour’s two-day trial at the judicial center.

Arbour had pleaded not guilty to an indictment containing eight charges: two counts of aggravated trafficking in heroin and one count of aggravated trafficking crack cocaine, each of which carry maximum imprisonment terms of 30 years; unlawful trafficking in crack cocaine, aggravated marijuana cultivation, and unlawful possession of cocaine base, which each carry maximum prison terms of 10 years; and unlawful trafficking in marijuana and unlawful possession of heroin, which carry maximum prison terms of five years.

On Tuesday, Walker indicated he had merged several of the related charges, so six counts went to the jury, now reduced to eight women and four men. After deliberating for two hours, jurors convicted Arbour of all the charges, and Walker ordered him held without bail pending sentencing. Six people watched the verdict announced and left the courtroom almost immediately.

Arbour, in a long-sleeved white shirt and wearing glasses with thick black rims, sat at the defense table with his attorney, Luann Calcagni. He has been held in jail since his arrest on Sept. 17, 2014, the day police executed a search warrant seeking stolen tools and illegal drugs from the apartment allegedly occupied by Arbour and his girlfriend, Angie L. Sousa, now 33, of Farmingdale.

Wastella testified Monday that he helped seize 114 marijuana plants that had roots as well as some processed marijuana, some of it sitting in a kiddie pool to dry in the kitchen area and more on a screening apparatus.

After being processed at the evidence laboratory, it resulted in about 25 pounds of processed marijuana, he said. The processed marijuana filled two cardboard cartons.

Also seized were 1,250 packets of heroin and 23.65 grams of crack cocaine, Wastella testified.

Other affidavits by police and information at trial indicate that a number of stolen tools along with 12 grams of bath salts were found at the home.

Sousa was home when police arrived, and Arbour, who arrived home while the search was underway, told police, “It’s all mine. She had nothing to do with it.” He told them to arrest him.

In closing arguments on Tuesday afternoon, Sibley told jurors to remember that statement.

“Twice he took responsibility and admitted that all the illegal items in the apartment were his,” she said.

Calcagni, in turn, said there was reasonable doubt as to who owned the drugs. She said the illegal drugs could have belonged to others who had been in the apartment, including five people who had been smoking crack cocaine and using heroin and who had an opportunity to put the drugs there.

“The bottom line in this case is we’re not going to know whose thermos (that contained the drugs) that was and whose drugs were there,” Calcagni said. She said Arbour arrived home during the search in response to Sousa’s phone call and had neither drugs nor stolen items on him when he was searched.

She said the government “has failed miserably in meeting its burden of proof,” and added, “Frank Arbour is innocent.”

Arbour didn’t testify in his own defense, and jurors began deliberations at 2:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Sousa was arrested and pleaded guilty in February to felony marijuana cultivation. Five other charges were dismissed in exchange for her plea.

If she meets the terms of the deferred disposition agreement spelled out in Kennebec County Superior Court, she can retract that felony plea in February 2016 and instead plead guilty to misdemeanor marijuana cultivation and be sentenced to seven days in jail, with credit for seven days served and fined $500, according to the agreement.

In March 2005, Arbour was sentenced to 100 months in federal prison for his part in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine in the Augusta area and for soliciting people to sell him guns that he could trade for drugs in Massachusetts. He was released from federal prison on Dec. 16, 2009.

Federal court documents also show that in August 2011, Arbour was charged in Lincoln County with aggravated forgery and forgery in connection with the use of a computer to create counterfeit currency and checks. He later pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property and was given a 24-month deferred disposition and ordered to pay $4,000 restitution.

In connection with that plea, the documents say, a federal judge approved changing conditions of Arbour’s supervised release to include mental health treatment and ordered him to participate in the federal computer and Internet monitoring program and to do 20 hours of community service.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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