LEWISTON – A man arrested on drug charges this week later proved to be a suspect in a St. Louis rape and kidnapping. But before FBI fingerprint evidence led police to the man’s true identity, he nearly slipped away from them.
The man who identified himself to drug agents Monday as 32-year-old Phinnigan Edwards is actually 37-year-old Troy Jenkins, police said Thursday night.
Jenkins is listed as one of St. Louis’ most wanted suspects, accused of dragging a woman from her home, binding her with duct tape and raping her earlier this year. He is wanted by police in St. Louis as well as the FBI.
Edwards was arrested on drug charges Monday night. He was released on Tuesday when his bail was lowered sharply from $50,000 to $5,000. He was arrested once more late Wednesday when drug agents found him in an apartment on Bartlett Street. The suspect was still identified at that point as Phinnigan Edwards, and it would not be learned until the following day that he was considered a dangerous rapist from St. Louis.
Investigators Thursday night said they were fortunate that Jenkins was arrested Wednesday night and that drug agents continued to research his identity.
Police said that when he was first arrested, the suspect had identification that listed him as Edwards, with an address in Brooklyn, N.Y. But police and drug agents thought the identification was false.
“We suspected he was not giving us his true name,” said Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Supervisor Gerry Baril. “We just kept digging and digging.”
After he was arrested on Monday, police fingerprinted the man then known as Phinnigan Edwards. Those prints were sent to the FBI in West Virginia for analysis.
On Thursday, the prints were confirmed. Edwards was Troy Jenkins and he was a fugitive listed by police in Missouri as dangerous. At 6 feet, 4 inches and 260 pounds, police in Maine said he matched the description of the man accused in the St. Louis rape.
Jenkins was back in jail Thursday night, being held without bail. Police said that is only because he went to Bartlett Street instead of fleeing the area after his first arrest.
St. Louis police and the FBI have been searching for Jenkins to arrest him on charges of rape and kidnapping. Police say he dragged a woman by her hair as he hauled her from her home to a different location. He raped her and bound her with duct tape so she could not escape, police said.
Further details about the alleged rape could not be obtained Thursday night. It was being investigated by St. Louis County police.
Jenkins was being held on local charges of transporting and trafficking crack cocaine, conspiracy to traffic crack and violating bail. Because of the violation charge, police are hoping that the next judge will not set bail.
Baril said it is not routine to check a suspect’s fingerprints against the FBI database after every arrest. Something about the man known as Phinnigan Edwards made the drug agents believe he was lying.
“We challenged his identification because we just didn’t believe his story,” Baril said.