ROCKLAND, Maine — A judge refused Monday to accept an agreement between the prosecution and defense that could have sent a 44-year-old man with no criminal record to prison for four years for being caught with a large amount of crack cocaine and other drugs.
Justice Jeffrey Hjelm said he would not accept any agreement that would send Dedrick Huff to prison for anything less than least six years.
Huff was arrested Jan. 2 by Rockland police after officers noticed him driving erratically on Payne Avenue in Rockland. Huff, from New York City and the Maine town of Washington, failed several field sobriety tests and was arrested on a charge of operating under the influence.
When searching Huff, officers also found a large amount of assorted drugs in his coat, according to Assistant Attorney General Katie Sibley. Huff was in possession of approximately 35 grams of crack cocaine, five grams of cocaine, 45 oxymorphone pills, 40 methadone pills and a small amount of suboxone, she said.
Huff was charged with aggravated trafficking in crack cocaine, unlawful furnishing of oxymorphone, possession of cocaine, possession of methadone and possession of suboxone.
At Monday’s hearing, Sibley said the prosecution was recommending eight years in prison with all but four years suspended to be followed by three years probation. Under the agreement, the four years would be the maximum Huff could get and the defense could argue for less time.
Defense attorney Jeremy Pratt told Hjelm on Monday that Huff has no criminal record and that his client should serve nine to 18 months. Huff has been held at the Knox County Jail in Rockland since his arrest. Huff has had an alcohol abuse problem for decades and that has now extended to an addiction to drugs. The defense attorney said there was no evidence that Huff sold the drugs to anyone.
Sibley said four years was a reasonable sentence, citing the danger to the community from the drugs brought into Rockland by Huff. She said that Huff was a walking pharmacy of illegal drugs. She said the amount of drugs he had, and how they were packaged, shows the intent to traffic.
Huff apologized to the court, saying he had embarrassed himself and his family.
After a recess, Hjelm returned to the courtroom and said he would not accept the proposed agreement and would not accept any deal in which Huff served less than six years behind bars.
Huff then withdrew his guilty plea to the drug charges and pleaded not guilty. The case could now go to trial unless another agreement is reached.