A Connecticut man under investigation in connection with a shooting in his home state has been sentenced to 2½ years in a Maine prison for trafficking narcotics in Wiscasset.
Hertis T. Scott, 41, of New Britain, Connecticut, pleaded guilty to Class B unlawful trafficking of scheduled drugs, a felony, March 27, according to court documents.
The trafficking charge was reduced from Class A to Class B and a charge of Class D falsifying physical evidence, a misdemeanor, was dismissed in exchange for his plea.
Scott is a suspect in a nonfatal shooting in Connecticut, according to the prosecutor of the Wiscasset case, Maine Assistant Attorney General John P. Risler.
In the local case, Wiscasset police Chief Jeffrey E. Lange was working a speeding detail when he checked on a suspicious vehicle with Connecticut plates in the waterfront parking lot Sept. 11, 2017.
“Contact was made with the driver and passenger, who had originally forgotten his name and other information,” Lange said in a statement the next day.
A Woolwich man was in the driver’s seat and Scott was in the passenger seat. Lange saw a crack pipe on the floor of the driver’s side, according to a report by Wiscasset police officer James Fisher.
Police then patted the men down. Lange suspected Scott had concealed drugs in a body cavity, and police placed Scott in the back seat of a cruiser.
During a search of the vehicle, police found a handgun concealed under the hood.
While still at the scene, officers took Scott back out of the vehicle and found “a large amount of a white, powdery substance in the seat … After searching behind the seat, we located a large amount of white powder and rock, which appeared to be crack cocaine,” Fisher said in the report.
Lange conducted a field test of the substance, which tested positive for cocaine. In his statement, he said police seized more than 11 grams of crack cocaine.
The charge of falsifying physical evidence resulted from Scott’s alleged attempt to conceal the drugs prior to his arrest.
Police also charged Scott with Class C possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, but he was not indicted on the charge.
The state did not present the charge to a grand jury for a number of reasons, according to Risler. The only witness who could tie Scott to the gun – the Woolwich man – is a transient of sorts and prosecutors could not locate him to testify. There were no fingerprints or other forensic evidence to tie Scott to the gun.
Most importantly, Risler said, prosecutors focused on the trafficking charge because it carries a longer maximum sentence than the firearms charge.
Under state law, a Class B crime carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. A Class C crime carries a maximum penalty of five years.
Scott was on parole in Connecticut and was a fugitive from justice at the time of his arrest, according to Lange’s statement.
Lange, in the statement, said Scott may have been involved in a recent shooting in the Hartford area. He said the Wiscasset Police Department was working with the East Hartford Police Department in Connecticut, and the gun would undergo ballistic testing.
Risler said detectives from Connecticut traveled to Maine and tested the weapon. “It was a match for their shooting,” he said.
The Connecticut investigation is ongoing, and Scott will likely face charges in Connecticut, according to Risler.
The prosecutor said Connecticut police might be investigating Scott in connection with more than one shooting.
A spokesman for the East Hartford Police Department was not available for comment.
Scott is in custody at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, according to the Maine Department of Corrections.
Because Scott is in state custody, Connecticut can extradite him as soon as it has a warrant for his arrest, according to Risler.
“As soon as Connecticut wants him, they can get him shipped down there to face trial on those charges,” Risler said. Scott could face a much longer sentence in Connecticut.
In addition to the prison term, Scott must pay $360 in restitution to the Lincoln County District Attorney’s Office to cover the expense of drug testing.
Bath attorney David Paris represented Scott.
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