AUGUSTA — A New York City man pleaded guilty Wednesday at the Capital Judicial Center to a charge of aggravated trafficking in cocaine base that occurred Jan. 29, 2016, in Vassalboro and was sentenced to six years in prison.

Richard J. Baker, also known as “Stash,” 35, of Bronx, New York, had been indicted originally on five counts of aggravated trafficking in heroin, six counts of aggravated trafficking in cocaine or cocaine base, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and two counts of criminal forfeiture — one of $1,340 and one of two firearms — between Dec. 9, 2015, and Jan. 29, 2016, all in Vassalboro.

Assistant Attorney General Katie Sibley said that in exchange for Baker’s plea to one count of aggravated trafficking in drugs, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, and to his agreeing to forfeit the items seized at the scene, the state would dismiss the other 11 charges contained in the February 2016 indictment.

Sibley told Justice Robert Mullen that drug enforcement agents had targeted both the homeowner at 38 Whitehouse Road, Vassalboro, and Baker as part of an investigation into drug activity there in late December 2015 and January 2016. Baker was arrested Jan. 29, 2016, with a number of other people when police executed a search warrant there.

She said three cooperating witnesses would testify that roughly 30 grams of cocaine found at that address belonged to Baker and that they saw him sell some of it.

She also said Baker has a prior felony conviction from 2005 in New York for criminal possession of a controlled substance and had been sentenced to a four-year prison term and two years of probation, although she said she was unable to determine how much time he spent behind bars.


Before accepting the guilty plea, Mullen advised Baker of his rights, saying he could have picked a jury Friday if he had opted to go to trial.

Aaron Blaschke Rowden, Baker’s defense attorney, said he too advised Baker of his rights and the consequences of the plea. Baker said little at the hearing.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

Twitter: @betadams

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