Judge to decide whether transient will be held as witness until Feb. in drug trial

Posted Nov. 11, 2013, at 12:58 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A federal judge will decide Tuesday whether a local transient will be held in jail as a material witness until she can testify at a drug trial in February or if she will be set free on bail.

A warrant was issued Nov. 5 for Amy White after she did not show up for a pretrial conference at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Bangor, according to documents filed in federal court. White, 36, has been granted immunity to testify against Nicholas McDonald, 33, of Holden.

McDonald has pleaded not guilty to one count each of possession with intent to distribute heroin and being a felon in possession of a firearm. His jury trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Bangor. It was continued Friday until Feb. 4 due to the last minute receipt of a DNA report from the Maine State Police Crime Lab.

White was arrested Thursday on a material witness warrant and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk the same day. The judge ordered that she be detained temporarily until a bail hearing could be held Tuesday.

McDonald and White, who was driving a car that allegedly contained stolen construction equipment, were stopped April 5 on Copeland Road in Holden, according to a previously published report. McDonald took off on foot but was found by police hiding in the woods by a Maine State Police trooper and a search dog.

A safe with drugs and a gun in it were found in White’s car, according to trial briefs filed in federal court. A report that stated McDonald’s DNA matched DNA on the gun and the safe caused the trial to be delayed.

White is expected to testify at McDonald’s trial that she gave him rides to Massachusetts to pick up heroin and helped him make deliveries in Maine in exchange for heroin and gas money, according to court documents.

A Penobscot County sheriff’s deputy is expected to tell the jury that McDonald apparently passed a clear plastic bag filled with small packets containing heroin while at a local hospital for observation, according to trial briefs. McDonald allegedly tried to grab the bag from the deputy and the officer needed help from hospital staff to keep the defendant from swallowing the bag.

If convicted, McDonald faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of $2 million.

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