A Massachusetts man has been sentenced to 18 months for oxycodone possession, but the Maine Attorney General’s Office has dismissed a more serious trafficking charge.
Allen J. Cooper, 39, of Pittsfield, Mass., pleaded guilty to class C unlawful possession of oxycodone on Monday, March 21, according to court documents.
He was sentenced to 18 months in prison and a $400 fine, although he will not serve the sentence until the Maine Supreme Judicial Court decides his appeal of Superior Court Justice Daniel Billings’ denial of his motion to suppress evidence in the case.
Cooper’s guilty plea to the possession charge was an Alford plea. According to the Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute, an Alford plea is similar to a plea of no contest and means the defendant “accepts all the ramifications of a guilty verdict (i.e. punishment) without first attesting to having committed the crime.”
The state dismissed additional charges of class B unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs and class C trafficking in prison contraband. All three charges are felonies.
Cooper’s arrest on Dec. 29, 2014 followed a three-month Maine Drug Enforcement Agency investigation into the distribution of large quantities of cocaine and oxycodone in the Midcoast by a man of Cooper’s description with the street name “Boog.”
“Cooper would routinely travel to Maine from Massachusetts with oxycodone and would deliver the drugs (to) his distributors in the Midcoast, collect his profits, and return to Massachusetts,” Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said in a press release at the time of the arrest.
Maine Drug Enforcement Agency personnel detained Cooper at Mike’s Place in Newcastle on the afternoon of Dec. 29, 2014.
After an initial search by agents; a second search with a K-9 at the Schooner Inn in Wiscasset, where Cooper and his girlfriend would stay during their visits to the area; a strip search at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset; and finally a CT scan at Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick; Cooper removed a plastic bag containing 90 30-milligram oxycodone pills from a body cavity, according to court documents.
Brunswick attorney Justin W. Andrus represents Cooper. Andrus and Cooper did not contest Cooper’s possession of the pills, but did argue against the legality of the search warrants.
In statements to an MDEA agent and again in a motion to amend bail, Cooper said the oxycodone was for his personal use only.
Cooper was in custody at Two Bridges from his arrest on Dec. 29, 2014 until the court granted his attorney’s motion to amend bail on Oct. 8, 2015, according to court documents.
He will receive credit for his nine-plus months in custody if he loses his appeal, according to Andrus. He would still have another eight to nine months to serve.
Cooper is now free on $10,000 unsecured bail. His bail conditions prohibit contact with four people with connections to the investigation, as well as the possession or use of alcohol or illegal drugs. The conditions also require Cooper to reside at his address in Pittsfield and submit to random searches and tests.
Andrus explained the “unusual” plea agreement.
“When Mr. Cooper was arrested, the nature of the search that MDEA performed exceeded the scope of what they should have performed, so we’re appealing the court’s decision to allow that search into evidence,” Andrus said. “Ordinarily we would have to wait until after a trial to do that, but because that’s the primary issue in the case, we’ve taken the unusual step of what’s called a conditional plea.”
Cooper would likely have completed the 18-month sentence by the time the supreme court decides his appeal. “Justice Billings released him on bail so there wasn’t the risk that he won his appeal but had served his sentence in its entirety anyway,” Andrus said.
Cooper has prior convictions of assault with intent to cause serious injury with weapon and criminal possession of a firearm in New York in 1992, according to court documents.
Assistant Attorney General Johnathan Nathans represented the state. A spokesman for the Maine Attorney General’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment via email and voicemail.
At the time of Cooper’s arrest, MDEA agents also arrested his girlfriend, Amanda Restel, 34, of Pittsfield, on a class D charge of possession of schedule W drugs (Suboxone); and Robert E. Colpritt, 40, of Warren, on a class B charge of trafficking in schedule W drugs (oxycodone).
A search of Colpritt’s Warren home resulted in the seizure of 22 30-mg oxycodone pills, Suboxone, and “numerous other medications,” according to McCausland. Agents said Colpritt was one of Cooper’s distributors.
Colpritt pleaded guilty Sept. 29, 2015 and agreed to a sentence of four years in prison with all but six months suspended, plus two years of probation, according to the Bangor Daily News.
Restel was sentenced to 364 days in custody with all but 34 days suspended, plus a year of administrative release and a $400 fine, according to a previous report in The Lincoln County News.
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, the Maine State Police, and the Wiscasset Police Department assisted in the investigation.