Car in snowbank leads to Rockland drug bust

Posted March 01, 2013, at 12:59 p.m.
Last modified March 01, 2013, at 3:38 p.m.
William Rankin
William Rankin

ROCKLAND, Maine — A car stuck in a snowbank this week led to the arrest of the driver, who police said had drugs and thousands of dollars in cash on him.

William Rankin, 47, of Lincolnville was arrested Wednesday night and charged with aggravated trafficking in drugs, refusal to submit to arrest, operating under the influence and criminal forfeiture of the money.

The incident began at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday when a city public works plow truck driver contacted police to say that a vehicle was stuck in a snowbank on Pleasant Street near Rockland City Hall, according to an affidavit filed in Rockland District Court.

When Officer Andrew Redden arrived, he saw two men in the front seat and the driver was attempting to back the vehicle out of the snow without success. The officer said he spoke to the driver, who failed to make eye contact with him and kept saying that they were fine and did not need assistance.

Rankin, who was the driver, got out of the vehicle but appeared unsteady, the officer reported in the affidavit. The officer approached Rankin and detected the strong odor of alcohol, according to the affidavit. The officer conducted a field sobriety test on Rankin and then informed him he was under arrest for operating under the influence.

As he tried to handcuff Rankin, the suspect tried to punch the officer but Redden and Officer John Bagley subdued Rankin.

The officers found 200 pills that turned out to be oxycodone on Rankin, according to the affidavit. Officers also found $4,384 in cash on him.

Rankin was taken to the Knox County Jail in Rockland, where bail was set at $20,000 cash.

At Rankin’s initial court appearance Friday, Judge Daniel Billings kept bail the same. Rankin remained in jail Friday afternoon.

The aggravated trafficking charge carries a maximum possible penalty of 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine, the judge said.

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