AUGUSTA — A 23-year-old Winthrop man appeared in court Monday on a charge of dealing heroin, a day after state police arrested him at The Big Apple store parking lot on Stone Street.

Benjamin York was arrested Sunday and held overnight at the Kennebec County jail on $150,000 bail.

Wearing a padded anti-suicide smock, he appeared in the Capital Judicial Center  via video from the jail Monday. Justice William Stokes said he would not ask for a plea because the most serious charge, aggravated trafficking in heroin, would have to be considered by a grand jury.

A conviction on the charge carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison.

Stokes set bail at $5,000 cash with a supervised release contract. Bail conditions include no possession or use of alcohol and illegal drugs.  

York is also charged with unlawful possession of suboxone and violating conditions of release.

In an affidavit, Maine State Trooper Eric Bronson wrote that he received a tip that heroin was being transported from Waterville to Augusta and was given the license plate number of the suspected vehicle. He followed it to The Big Apple parking lot and talked to the driver and York, who was a passenger.

Bronson said York produced a Maine state ID and said he was on bail on a theft charge and had been drinking.

“Part of the bail conditions was that Benjamin could not use or possess alcohol,” Bronson wrote.

After another trooper’s K-9 indicated drugs were in the vehicle, Bronson reported finding a container with 9.5 grams of heroin.

“Benjamin became very upset and stated that it was his heroin and that he had received about 190 grams of heroin a month ago and he had been using the heroin and selling some,” Bronson wrote.

Bronson also wrote that York said he had come from Skowhegan where he traded heroin for marijuana.

Assistant Attorney General Michael Madigan said York has had theft and burglary convictions since 2012 and “multiple prosecutorial districts have had contact with him prior to 2012.”

Benjamin York


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