A former Augusta man lost his bid to have the state’s highest court reverse a lower court suppression ruling and now will begin a four-year term of imprisonment for aggravated trafficking in heroin in Augusta in December 2015.

The remainder of the eight-year prison term of Michael L. Journet II, 39, now of South Portland, was ordered suspended while he spends four years on probation.

The state’s highest court, sitting as the Law Court, on Tuesday upheld the suppression decision in a case where Journet’s guilty plea to aggravated trafficking in heroin was conditioned on the appeals court ruling.

He has been free on bail pending that ruling.

Journet, who is African-American, claims he was a victim of racial profiling when his blue BMW sport utility vehicle was stopped Dec. 16, 2015, on Winthrop Court in Augusta. He said police had no probable cause to make an arrest without a warrant, and wanted it and his subsequent statements to police suppressed.

The prosecutor in the case, Assistant District Attorney Tyler LeClair, said the stop was based on a tip from a confidential informant that a drug dealer driving that type of vehicle would be bringing heroin to sell between 5 and 6 p.m. that night.

Journet drove onto the dead-end street about 6:40 p.m., and police stopped his vehicle.

In the original suppression decision, Superior Court Justice Lance Walker noted that along with the time and date, and type of vehicle, the tipster indicated that the dealer normally carried the heroin inside his pants,

Walker noted that a detective “observed that Mr. Journet’s pants zipper was down and his underwear was protruding outward.”

A woman passenger, who was “hysterical and screaming,” was taken to the Kennebec County jail and took from her underwear a bag containing almost 10 grams of heroin.

Journet later told police it was his heroin and he had throw it to her when they were pulled over.

The decision by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, written by Associate Justice Donald Alexander for the seven-member court, says, “(P)robable cause to arrest without a warrant exists when the facts and circumstances collectively known to the police, and of which they have reasonably trustworthy information, would warrant a prudent and cautious person to believe that the arrestee did commit or was committing a crime. … Because there was sufficient corroborated information to warrant any prudent and cautious person to believe that Journet was committing the offense of heroin trafficking, a felony, the trial court’s denial of the motion to suppress must be affirmed.”

Oral arguments in the case took place May 15.

Journet’s attorney, Leonard Sharon, said via email Tuesday that he was disappointed by the decision.

Journet was convicted in 2008 in Kennebec County of unlawful trafficking in heroin, for which he was sentenced to serve an initial 18 months of a five-year prison term.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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