AUGUSTA — An Augusta man entered a guilty plea to drug trafficking in the city Thursday, making it conditional on the outcome of his appeal of a suppression motion.

Michael L. Journet II, 38, had waived his right to a jury trial and had been scheduled for a bench trial Thursday at the Capital Judicial Center.

However, the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Tyler LeClair, and defense attorney Leonard Sharon reached an agreement about the conditional plea of guilty.

Judge Valerie Stanfill accepted the plea on that basis and scheduled a sentencing hearing for Nov. 1.

The attorneys told her the agreement — which was also in writing — called for them to argue over the sentence, which would be capped at 10 years overall, with a maximum of five years to serve initially and the remainder suspended while the defendant serves a maximum of four years’ probation.

Sharon noted that the offense carries a minimum prison term of four years. Journet has a 2008 conviction for unlawful trafficking in drugs.

LeClair outlined for the judge the evidence the state would provide at trial, saying Journet’s blue BMW sport utility vehicle was stopped Dec. 16, 2015, on Winthrop Court in Augusta, indicating that it was directly behind the courthouse.

He said a confidential informant had told police that a drug dealer driving that type of vehicle would be bringing heroin to sell.

LeClair also said that Journet’s passenger, Danielle Bunikis, now 25, of Brunswick, began “screaming and pulling out her ponytail,” yelling that she had made a mistake and “her life was over.”

At the jail, she pulled a package from her underwear that contained a packet of heroin.

Bunikis later pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful furnishing of drugs and was placed on deferred disposition. If the latter is successful, the agreement says, the state will dismiss the charge. She is due in court next week in that case.

LeClair said Journet later told investigators he gave Bunikis the heroin to hide when the police pulled his vehicle over. “He said he was bringing heroin to Augusta to sell,” LeClair told the judge.

Stanfill continued bail for Journet.

On Feb. 9, Justice Lance Walker issued an order denying Journet’s motion to suppress evidence as well as statements.

He found the confidential informant’s tip “nearly metaphysical in its accuracy” and noted that Kennebec Sheriff’s Office Detective John Bourque “observed the sale (of heroin) orchestrated through text messages.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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