ATF agents charge Eddington man with lying on firearm application

Posted Jan. 27, 2009, at 9:33 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Bangor police caught up Friday with an Eddington man who was wanted on an outstanding federal firearms warrant for allegedly lying on an application for a gun he purchased at a Brewer gun shop.

Neal Higgins, 31, was picked up at an Everett Street home around 1 p.m. and afterward appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk, where he pleaded not guilty to making false statements on a federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives application to purchase a firearm.

“The defendant [Higgins] was not the actual buyer of the firearm as he was purchasing the firearm on behalf of another individual,” court documents state.

The court documents do not indicate what type of gun Higgins purchased, but did say he purchased the weapon at Van Raymond Outfitters.

After his appearance in U.S. District Court in Bangor, Higgins was released on $5,000 unsecured bond with conditions that he is not to obtain a passport or possess firearms, and he was ordered not to use alcohol or illegal drugs.

If convicted of the federal charges against him, Higgins faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Kravchuk also appointed attorney Joseph Bethony as Higgins’ legal counsel, ordered discovery be done and set a March 3 court date.

Bethony, ATF Special Agent Brent McSweyn and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Nichols, who is prosecuting the case, all declined to comment on the case.

After his release from court in Bangor, he was taken into custody by Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department deputies who transferred him to Cumberland County Jail in Portland on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in Cumberland County Superior Court to face drug trafficking charges against him.

Higgins was arrested in October by agents from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency for allegedly trafficking in cocaine after they followed him and a Bar Harbor woman from Bangor to Portland to pick up the narcotic from a woman in that community.

He remained in jail in Portland on Tuesday night.

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