PORTLAND — A Lewiston man was sentenced to more than three years in prison Friday after he was found carrying a firearm downtown during an undercover police operation.
Anthony Foster, 33, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to serve 40 months in federal prison after he was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Court officials said Foster’s is the first federally prosecuted case arising out of Operation Hot Spots, a Lewiston-based police initiative to curb crime in the downtown area.
Police said on Aug. 2, state and federal agents working a Hot Spot detail in Lewiston received a tip that Foster, a convicted felon, was inside an apartment at 88 Bartlett St. showing off a handgun to several people.
Shortly after, Foster left the building and headed up Pine Street, police said. There, several undercover agents were waiting to arrest him. When they did, police said, they found Foster in possession of a 9 mm Glock loaded with 18 rounds of ammunition.
The arrest drew a crowd of nearly 100 people and led to some early confusion. Several people called 911 to report that one man was robbing another near the intersection of Pine and Bartlett streets. Police said onlookers may have been confused because the arrest was made by undercover agents.
Foster was jailed and pleaded guilty in September to the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
His criminal record in the area is extensive and dates back to the 1990s. In February 2012, he was found guilty of carrying a concealed weapon. Previously, he was in and out of jail on a variety of charges, including disorderly conduct, criminal mischief and driving violations.
In 1998, Foster was arrested in a high-profile case in which he was accused of siccing his pit bull on a police officer near Kennedy Park. Foster was arrested in that incident on charges of aggravated assault and assault on a police officer.
Operation Hot Spots has been led by Lewiston police Chief Michael Bussiere, Special Agent-in-Charge Matthew Cashman of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and Dale Armstrong, resident-in-charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
There have been more than 60 arrests or summonses as a result of the Operation Hot Spot patrols, and 15 firearms have been recovered.