POLICE BEAT

Police: E. Machias man ate half an ‘eight-ball’ of cocaine before assaulting officer, fleeing into woods

Posted July 02, 2011, at 9:47 p.m.
Last modified July 03, 2011, at 1:45 p.m.

EDDINGTON, Maine — What began as a traffic stop on Route 9 Friday night resulted in the arrests of three people from East Machias on a variety of charges, several of them drug-related.

The incident also involved a search for a suspect who ingested a potentially dangerous amount of cocaine and fled into the woods, said Deputy Daren Mason of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department, who is assigned to Eddington.

Arrested in connection with the incident were Jeremy Ward, 33, his girlfriend, 24-year-old Cherie Anders, and Jason Parker, 36, Mason said.

Mason said Saturday the three came to his attention about 9:30 p.m., while he was monitoring holiday traffic on Route 9. He said he was parked near a church across the road from the Trade Winds Variety Store when he heard an eastbound vehicle with studded snow tires approaching. It is illegal to use studded tires from May 1 to Oct. 1, according to state law.

As he pulled in behind the maroon 2004 Ford Escort, it turned in to Trade Winds, which had been closed for half an hour.

Mason said that as he approached the car’s passenger side, he noted that the front seat passenger, later identified as Ward, wasn’t wearing a seat belt. Ward initially identified himself by another name but a check of that name turned up another person who was 10 years younger and from southern Maine, Mason said.

He noted that Anders was sitting in the back seat rearranging blankets. Anders, who reportedly is eight months pregnant, said the group was returning from a trip to southern Maine and that she was rearranging her bedding.

Mason said that when he told the group he could smell marijuana in the car, Anders told him it was hers and handed over a cigarette package containing a small amount. The group denied having any other drugs or weapons in the car, he said.

He then directed Ward and Parker, who was the driver, to get out of the vehicle and put their hands on the hood while he assisted Anders out. Ward, however, slid his hand into the left pocket of his pants, pulled out a plastic bag containing cocaine and swallowed it.

“He immediately ingested the whole thing, so right then and there I called for an ambulance,” Mason said.

Mason said Ward swallowed about half an “eight-ball” of the substance.  An eight-ball is the equivalent of one-eighth of an ounce of cocaine, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s website.

As Ward attempted to open one of the car’s rear doors, Ward pushed him, causing minor injuries, Mason said. Ward then bolted, Mason said, first running behind the store and then into the nearby woods.

Mason called for backup and held Parker and Anders until other officers arrived.

State police Trooper Seth Edwards and his tracking dog, Boris, and Penobscot County Deputy Ed Toulouse combed the woods for Ward, who was located in a swampy area near the intersection of Route 9 and Bangor Water District Road, Mason said. Ward gave himself up without further incident. He said he believes Ward may have vomited the cocaine he swallowed while in the woods because it could not be located at the scene or at the hospital.

Ward was taken to Penobscot County Jail by Penobscot County Sgt. William Sheehan shortly before 4 a.m. Saturday, after he was medically cleared at Eastern Maine Medical Center.

A search of the two other suspects and the car by Mason and Penobscot County Deputy Chad Young, who is assigned to Orrington, turned up a fairly large bag of marijuana, “about the size of a Nerf football,” in a diaper bag Anders reportedly had just purchased at Walmart in Portland, Mason said. The search also turned up drug paraphernalia.

Ward, who reportedly returned to East Machias from southern Maine, was charged with trafficking in marijuana; failure to provide his correct name; tampering with physical evidence; refusing to submit to arrest or detention; assault on a police officer, which is a Class C felony; and possession of cocaine.

Ward was wanted on a warrant stemming from a weapon charge out of Vermont at the time of his arrest, Mason said. The Vermont Parole Board has asked that he be held until he can be extradited.

Anders was charged with trafficking in marijuana; possession of drug paraphernalia, namely a pipe and a straw used for snorting cocaine; and violating the conditions of her release from a prior arrest in Cumberland County, Mason said. Among her bail conditions were that she not use or possess drugs, Mason said.

Parker was charged with trafficking in marijuana.

Ward and Anders remained at Penobscot County Jail on Sunday, Mason said. Parker has been released on bail.

Mason said that Parker later told police that Ward and Anders had hired him to drive them to Portland, where they allegedly purchased marijuana. Parker said he was paid $50 plus gas money and food in exchange for his services, Mason said.

More than a dozen officers from Penobscot County, Maine State Police and the Holden and Brewer police departments played a role in the arrests. Some were involved in tracking the suspect who fled while others secured the search area along Routes 9 and 46 or searched of the vehicle and the other two suspects. Emergency rescue personnel from Eddington also responded.

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