AUGUSTA — A 23-year-old Winthrop man was held overnight at the Kennebec County jail in lieu of $150,000 bail on charges that a prosecutor said involve possessing more than 9 grams of heroin.

Benjamin York was arrested Sunday in the parking lot of the Big Apple store on Stone Street, Augusta, after a car he was riding in stopped there, authorities said.

York is charged with aggravated trafficking in more than 9 grams of heroin, or 270 or more individual bags or envelopes or containers — a charge which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison — as well as unlawful possession of suboxone and violating conditions of release, two misdemeanor offenses.

On Monday, York made an initial appearance at the Capital Judicial Center via video from the jail.

In an affidavit listing probable cause for the arrest, Maine State Trooper Eric Bronson wrote that he had received a tip that heroin was being transported from Waterville to Augusta and was given the license plate number. He said he followed the vehicle to the Augusta parking lot and talked to the driver and then the passenger when he came out of the store.

Bronson said Benjamin York produced a Maine state ID and said he was on bail on a theft charge and that he had been drinking. “Part of the bail conditions was that Benjamin could not use or possess alcohol,” Bronson wrote.

After another trooper’s K-9 indicated drugs were in the vehicle, Bronson reported finding a container with 9.5 grams of heroin. He also wrote, “Benjamin became very upset and stated that it was his heroin and that he had received about 190 grams of heroin a month ago and he had been using the heroin and selling some.”

Bronson also said that York said he had come from Skowhegan where he traded heroin for marijuana.

On Monday, York appeared on the monitor wearing a padded, green, sleeveless anti-suicide smock held together at the shoulders with Velcro.

Justice William Stokes said he would not be asking for a plea because the most serious charge was a felony and would need to go through the grand jury.

Stokes set bail at $5,000 cash with a Maine Pretrial Services contract, and amount agreed between the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Michael Madigan, and attorney Jonathan Handelman, who represented York as lawyer of the day. The bail includes a prohibition of the possession and use of alcohol and illegal drugs.

York has an April 17 dispositional conference on the new charges.

Madigan told Stokes that York was found by police to be in possession of 9.7 grams of heroin.

Madigan also said that York had theft, burglary of a motor vehicle convictions between 2012 and today and that “multiple prosecutorial districts have had contact with him prior to 2012.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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