Court documents in a Maine State Police drug case that prosecutors dismissed after a judge suppressed the evidence. Credit: Callie Ferguson / BDN

After the Maine State Police awarded its Trooper of the Year citation to an officer accused racial profiling and credibility issues in two high-proflie dismissed cases, the Bangor Daily News examined cases to better understand concerns about the agency’s approach to investigating illegal drugs. 

Using public records, interviews and by visiting court houses around the state, the BDN identified nine other dismissed cases involving the Maine State Police where judges tossed evidence because troopers violated the defendant’s constitutional rights.

Below are annotated versions of the cases. Read the full story here.

State vs Krystal Buchiere

Incident date: 2/22/18

Date of suppression: 4/5/19

Date of dismissal: 4/8/19

After stopping her on the highway for driving 3 mph below the speed limit with a suspended license, Sgt. Tom Pappas, supervisor of the PACE team, charged Krystal Buchiere with drug trafficking after allegedly finding either heroin or fentanyl in her car. A judge ruled Pappas violated the defendant’s rights by failing to read her a Miranda warning before interrogating her on the side of the highway.

State vs Edward Williams

Incident date: 7/27/18

Date of suppression: 4/2/19

Date of dismissal: 5/5/19

From where he was sitting at the York County Toll Plaza on I-95, Trooper John Darcy noticed Edward Williams’ car allegedly speeding and making unsafe lane changes, so he asked fellow PACE member Jodell Wilkinson to stop his car when he passed by farther up the highway. Three troopers ultimately responded to the stop and, following a period of questioning and a dog sniff, charged him with drug trafficking after allegedly finding cocaine in his car. A judge ruled the troopers lacked a legal basis to prolong the stop. 

State vs Malik Crocker

Incident date: 3/26/19

Date of suppression: 12/18/19

Date of dismissal: 1/5/20

Officers charged Malik Crocker with trafficking after allegedly finding drugs on him during a prolonged traffic stop in Bangor that began when Trooper Jeremy Caron followed his car leaving a convenience stop and stopped it for littering a cigarette butt. A judge ruled the troopers illegally prolonged the stop.

USA vs Cody Look and Jose Miranda

Incident date: 3/11/19

Date of suppression: 1/12/20

Date of dismissal: 6/5/20

State prosecutors initially declined to take this case, according to court documents, but federal prosecutors charged Cory Look and Jose Miranda with drug trafficking after PACE Trooper Dana Austin allegedly found a condom full of crack cocaine in Miranda’s buttocks during a roadside pat-down search. A judge ruled the search was illegal.

USA vs Jeanne Morganstern

Incident date: 6/27/19

Date of suppression: 12/22/20

Date of dismissal: 2/8/21

In this case, drug agents asked PACE team member Jeremy Forbes, now chief deputy at the York County Sheriff’s Office, to find a reason to stop a car they believed to be transporting drugs as part of a larger investigation into the defendant’s son. A judge ruled that Forbes illegally prolonged the stop when he quickly abandoned the traffic violation to investigate the drugs.

State vs Russell Raye

Incident date: 12/11/19

Date of suppression: 3/3/31

Date of dismissal: 3/8/21

Trooper Taylor Dube stopped Russell Raye on I-95 near Bangor for following too closely behind another vehicle and, after questioning Raye and his passengers and registering a positive alert from his drug sniffing dog, allegedly found methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine. A judge ruled the officer illegally prolonged the stop.

USA vs Richard Fortier

Incident date: 5/15/19

Date of suppression: 3/16/21

Date of dismissal: 3/26/21

Prosecutors charged Richard Fortier with drug trafficking and illegal possession of a firearm after troopers allegedly found him with methamphetamine and a gun during an illegal search of the wooded York County property where he was living.

State vs Jonathan Baez

Incident date: 11/4/2020

Date of suppression: 7/1/21

Date of dismissal: 7/23/21

Trooper Tyler Maloon stopped Jonathan Baez on the highway after receiving a report of an erratic vehicle, but the officer soon shifted his attention — and prolonged the length of the stop — to look for signs of more serious criminal activity. Maloon ultimately called for a drug dog but did not find any drugs in the car; however, he allegedly found a gun that Baez was not legally allowed to carry. A judge ruled that Maloon illegally prolonged the stop.

USA vs Antron Owens

Incident date: 10/19/19

Date of suppression: 7/13/21

Date of dismissal: 8/24/21

Sgt. Tom Pappas stopped a car well after midnight for following too closely behind another vehicle, and, suspecting drug activity was afoot, called for a drug sniffing dog. He allegedly found crack cocaine in the waistband of one of the passengers, Antron Owens, after the dog alerted and he performed a patdown search. A judge ruled that Pappas illegally prolonged the stop.

Callie Ferguson is an investigative reporter for the Bangor Daily News. She writes about criminal justice, police and housing.