Judge orders former Farmington man to forfeit 19 guns seized in heroin investigation

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FARMINGTON — A Franklin County justice Tuesday ordered 19 guns seized in 2016 during a heroin trafficking investigation at a Farmington home to be turned over to the state.

Mark Barrett, 61, formerly of Farmington, is serving three years of an eight-year sentence with the Department of Corrections.

He testified at a criminal forfeiture hearing Tuesday that he wanted to give his gun collection to his sister, who lives in Leeds. 

Barrett was found guilty in September 2017 in Franklin County Superior Court in Farmington of unlawful trafficking and illegal importation of heroin.

He forfeited a car was used to bring heroin to Maine from Massachusetts and a handgun that was in the car.  More than 38 grams of heroin were seized from the car. 

During a joint investigation by the Farmington Police Department and Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, police intercepted Barrett’s car, driven by Guy Stevens, 42, of Temple, in July 2016 on Lucy Knowles Road in Farmington. Police executed a search warrant for the car and found a black bag hanging from the gear shift that contained heroin, along with a small amount of heroin and a handgun under the seat, according to statements previously made in court.

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During a search of the house where Barrett was living in Farmington, police found dozens of plastic bags laid out and a drug ledger with names and amounts listed.

Police seized 18 guns from a safe and one outside it.

State Police Trooper Randy Hall testified Tuesday that he searched a back bedroom where Barrett kept his belongings, including his safe. He said he found a loaded handgun next to a large, standing gun safe and more guns in the safe, along with prescription pills in bottles that were not labeled.

Farmington police officer Darin Gilbert testified there were 60- and 10-milligram pills of oxycodone, and Percocet and Ambien pills. He said Barrett did not have prescriptions for the drugs. 

Barrett said he had been in sales in lumber yards prior to becoming disabled. He had three foot surgeries and was prescribed 30-milligram oxycodone pills. Following a divorce he lost his health care insurance, and pain medication became cost-prohibitive until he was on disability.

He said he invested more than $25,000 in a firearms, using his 401(k) retirement savings and a disability settlement. 

“I am not asking for the firearms for myself but to give them to my sister,” Barrett said. “The firearms was my savings account.”

Barrett had receipts for some of the firearms but could not produce a prescription for the drugs found in the safe. He said sometimes he and a housemate traded medication.

His attorney, Adam Sherman, argued that Barrett has a constitutional right to have firearms, and there must be evidence that the firearm was used in committing a crime, including in a threatening manner or brandishing it.

Justice Robert Mulllen said the case fits the criminal forfeiture statute, which says, in part, law enforcement officers may seize all firearms and dangerous weapons they may find in any lawful search for scheduled drugs, and in which scheduled drugs are found. 

dperry@sunmediagroup.net

Mark Barrett (Franklin County Detention Center)

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