AUBURN — A former Lewiston police officer who died in February from an opioid overdose had been stealing drugs from dealers, using some of those drugs himself and selling some to his drug dealer to pay for his addiction, according to court papers.

The reference to Nicholas Meserve, 34, a 10-year veteran at the city’s police department, can be found in a motion filed in Androscoggin County Superior Court earlier this month in a case involving the attempted traffic stop of Norman “Bo” Thompson, 47, of 9 Oxford St. in Mexico.

Norman ‘Bo’ Thompson Lewiston Police Department photo

Meserve was one of the officers who pursued Thompson in a police car and foot chase on the night of Nov. 22, 2018, in Lewiston near the city’s high school. Meserve assisted in Thompson’s arrest on two felony charges and several misdemeanors related to the incident.

Thompson’s attorney, Paul Corey, filed motions recently challenging the possible use at trial of Meserve’s testimony during a January probation violation hearing because, in part, Meserve is deceased and can’t be cross-examined as a witness, Corey wrote in his motions.

But in one of those motions, Corey wrote that prosecutors had provided to him a summary report and a video in July. The report states Meserve died from acute fentanyl intoxication and that “Mr. Meserve was an addict who consumed illegal drugs daily for at least two years prior to his death.”

Corey’s motion goes on to quote the report as saying,”there were occasions when Mr. Meserve stole drugs from other dealers with whom he interacted in his law enforcement capacity, some of which he consumed and some of which he provided to his own dealer to sell to others to finance his drug habit.”

Meserve died Feb. 8 of acute fentanyl intoxication, Police Chief Brian T. O’Malley announced in May.

In response to Corey’s motion, prosecutors decided not to use Meserve’s testimony during Thompson’s January probation hearing.

Androscoggin County District Attorney Andrew Robinson said Wednesday that his office is taking steps “to inform all defense counsel when we believe that there is an issue” with the involvement of Meserve in an arrest.

The video featuring Meserve that prosecutors gave Corey shows an arrest on Jan. 18 at which Meserve assists a Maine State Police trooper who made a traffic stop that resulted in the arrest of a suspect who was later charged with aggravated trafficking of scheduled drugs.

Those charges would later be dismissed.

The Sun Journal obtained a copy of the video after filing a Freedom of Access Act request with the Lewiston Police Department.

According to an affidavit written by the trooper making the stop, 86 grams of fentanyl bricks were found rolled up in pajama pants in the backpack of Jamil Dabson, 33, of New York, when police stopped the taxi cab he was riding in at Main and Sabattus streets. Meserve arrived at the scene later to assist. He was asked to retrieve items that had fallen out of Dabson’s backpack when he tried to flee on foot.

Nicholas Meserve

In Corey’s motion filed Aug. 14, he wrote, “the (video) provided to the defendant shows Officer Meserve steal drugs from the scene” of that arrest.

Corey wrote that there was “no opportunity to cross-examine officer Meserve on his hidden behavior. The opportunity to cross-examine him is lost with him.”

Charges against Dabson were later dismissed by Assistant Attorney General John Risler during a July 25 plea hearing at which he said Meserve had “slipped some of the drug evidence into his pants pocket while outside the view of other officers.” Dabson ended up pleading guilty to a simple drug possession charge and was sentenced to time served.

The summary report and video given to Corey by prosecutors July 20 is subject to a protective discovery order issued by the court that includes “a cruiser video of an incident involving one of the state’s witnesses, a police report summarizing the cruiser video and a report summarizing relevant information gathered to date as part of another ongoing criminal investigation.”

In a statement released in May, Lewiston Police Chief Brian O’Malley said his department conducts regular reviews of an officer’s use of force, sick time use, job performance evaluations and complaints from the public. He said there was nothing in those reviews or observations of other officers that indicated Meserve might have been battling drug dependency or addiction.

O’Malley later said an independent investigation into Meserve’s death had been completed and had “found that no other Lewiston police officer was aware of Meserve’s drug use or his possession of illegal drugs.”

At a hearing in Androscoggin County Superior Court on Wednesday, a judge heard arguments on a motion by Thompson seeking to suppress statements he made at the time of his arrest and transport to the Androscoggin County Jail. The judge largely denied that motion after Assistant District Attorney Katherine Bozeman agreed not to use some of the statements.

That motion hinged on whether Thompson had been read his rights at the time he made statements to police and not on Meserve’s drug history.


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