AUGUSTA — A jury on Tuesday found a Brooklyn man guilty on aggravated drug trafficking charges following a two-day trial.

Jahneiro Plummer, 27, one of three men arrested on drug trafficking charges July 31, 2018, after Maine Drug Enforcement Agents searched a Gardiner apartment, was found guilty on charges he trafficked in heroin and cocaine base, or crack.

Jurors deliberated all Tuesday afternoon and at one point after a couple of hours in the jury room, came out to tell District Court Judge Valerie Stanfill they couldn’t reach a decision. She directed them to resume talks, noting it was not unusual for a jury to spend as much time, or more, than they had deliberating such a case. They came back with verdicts of guilty on both trafficking charges.

Plummer’s defense attorney, Kevin Sullivan, argued Plummer simply came to Maine to visit his friend, Michael Antonio Nelson, smoke some weed because it is legal in Maine but isn’t where he lives in New York, and record some music with Nelson. He said Plummer knew nothing of his friend’s alleged drug dealing. Sullivan added that Nelson, also a Brooklyn resident, allegedly sold drugs to an undercover agent from the same apartment earlier in July, before Plummer was even in Maine, and those sales were the basis of the search warrant used to search the 25 Middle St. apartment where Nelson was staying and where Plummer had come, the night of July 30, 2018, to visit.

“We all get it, Michael Nelson was definitely trafficking drugs, and he should be held accountable for that,” Sullivan said in his closing arguments. “But this is the trial of Mr. Plummer. The state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Plummer knew what was going on, was involved in it and was participating in it…. We don’t have DNA evidence. There are no fingerprints. The state didn’t present any evidence to you that Mr. Plummer actually touched any of these drug trafficking related items. There’s no evidence Mr. Plummer brought any drugs to Maine with him.”

Assistant Attorney General Katie Sibley, prosecutor in the case, said when Nelson allegedly sold drugs to an undercover agent July 30, 2018, the agent observed Nelson got the drugs from a sock. She said in the July 31, 2018 search, police located a sock in the bedroom where Plummer was sleeping and said the same agent observed the sock appeared to contain a much greater quantity of drugs than it had before Plummer had arrived.

She said the sock was just outside a bag in which Plummer’s wallet and identification were found. She said the bag also contained a digital scale and red and yellow rubber bands, which appeared to be the same type of bands that were wrapped around about $14,000 in cash seized during the raid, including $110 that had allegedly been used by a MDEA agent in one of the prior drug buys from Nelson.

Police ultimately located more than 120 grams of heroin mixture and more than 220 grams of cocaine in the bedroom, including loose heroin left on a paper plate located next to plastic baggies.

“Is it reasonable to believe Mr. Plummer had no idea what was going on in that room, or why Mr. Nelson was in Maine?” Sibley asked jurors. “Use your common sense in this case. Evidence, and common sense, doesn’t show Mr. Plummer rode 10 hours on a bus to smoke marijuana with his friend, which he could do with him 15 minutes from his house in Brooklyn. Instead, he went to that apartment, and that bedroom, to traffic drugs with Mr. Nelson.”

Both sides argued over testimony from MDEA agent Nathan Walker, who said on the first day of the trial items related to drug trafficking, including a digital scale and red and yellow rubber bands matching bands found around the$14,000 found elsewhere in the bedroom, had been found in a duffel bag that also contained Plummer’s wallet and ID.

Sullivan said the evidence report, filed by another officer, indicated the items were found in a backpack, not a duffel bag. He said police erred in not taking a photograph of the items in question while they were in their original positions, only photographing them after they had already been moved.

Sibley said whether the bag was a duffel or backpack is a matter of semantics, and said the important thing is the bag had Plummer’s ID and wallet in it, along with the items alleged to have been related to drug trafficking.

Jurors, after beginning their deliberations, returned to the courtroom and asked that Walker’s testimony, and that of an evidence technician,  be read back in court before jurors again left the courtroom to deliberate. They later were given a transcript of that same testimony.

Plummer, wearing a white-collared shirt and his hair in a neat bun, briefly held his face in his hands after jurors read the guilty verdicts.

Jurors also found Plummer guilty of criminal forfeiture, meaning the state can seize the $13,925 in cash found in the bedroom.

Police arrested Plummer, Nelson and Clifford Sousa on drug trafficking charges following a July 31, 2018 search of a Gardiner apartment.

Nelson has not yet gone to trial. Plummer and Nelson had initially been scheduled to be tried together, but at Sullivan’s request the trials were separated.

The third man, Clifford Sousa, 43, of Gardiner, who was also arrested at the apartment July 31, 2018, pleaded guilty in November 2018 to unlawful trafficking of heroin and cocaine and was sentenced to an initial nine months and one day in prison, with the remainder of the four-year term suspended, with two years on probation. At Sousa’s hearing, Sibley said Sousa allowed Plummer and Nelson to sell drugs from his residence.

 

Keith Edwards — 621-5647
[email protected]
Twitter: @kedwardskj

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