Wells man who picked up package he believed held pot to plead guilty

Posted July 22, 2014, at 8:05 a.m.

A Wells man, who picked up a FedEx Express package containing what he believed was 22 pounds of marijuana, is expected to plead guilty to two charges related to the incident.

James Barnes, 30, of 1 Preble St. in Wells, was taken into custody on July 23, 2013, after he received the package that was addressed to M. Atkin of 1 Mill Street, Unit 115.

According to an investigation report filed by New Hampshire State Police, the brown cardboard box which was sent to the address from Redding, California, weighed 34 pounds. It contained heat sealed black and clear bags, each filled with a pound of pot.

Sgt. Jennifer MacKenzie said she removed the marijuana from the box and replaced it with a small representative sample of marijuana and items of equal weight before the scheduled pick-up by Barnes.

Police waited as Barnes went into the Sawyer Mill Apartment complex and came back out with an informant who was cooperating with law enforcement. The informant handed Barnes the package, which he placed in the open bed of his pick-up truck. Barnes gave the man $600 to accept the package and took off.

He was stopped by detectives from the Dover Police Department on Central Avenue and was taken into custody.

In his notice of intent to plead guilty, Mark Howard of Howard & Ruoff in Manchester, said Barnes plans to waive indictment and plead guilty to a charge of conspiracy to possess with an intent to distribute a controlled drug and control of a vehicle where a controlled drug is deposited.

Barnes will be sentenced to two 12 month terms in the House of Corrections with two years of probation. He will be fined in the amount of $1,350 and sent to drug treatment or counseling as directed upon release.

A plea and sentencing hearing for Barnes will be held Aug. 6 at Strafford County Superior Court.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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