AUGUSTA — A jury found a New York man caught getting off a bus in Augusta last year with nearly 300 grams of cocaine guilty Tuesday of aggravated furnishing of drugs, but not guilty of the more serious charge of aggravated drug trafficking.
Timothy Barclift, 46 , of Bronx, N.Y., was charged in January 2020 with aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs, cocaine. Maine Drug Enforcement Agent Nathan Walker and Augusta Detective Matthew Estes testified that police received an anonymous tip that Barclift had made multiple trips, bringing drugs, over the past several years from New York to Maine. The tip indicated he was going to be on a bus coming into Augusta on Jan. 22. 2020, and would be carrying a large quantity of cocaine.
Officers from MDEA, Maine State Police and Augusta Police Department waited for the bus on which Barclift was thought to be a passenger. They stopped him after he got off the bus and as he was getting into an SUV at the Concord bus stop in north Augusta. Following a sniff by a state police narcotics detective dog, officers found what was later confirmed to be 297 grams of cocaine in a backpack Barclift had brought with him.
Police and the state’s prosecutor Katie Sibley, assistant attorney general, said that amount indicates Barclift was selling the drugs. They said it was unreasonable to think the amount of cocaine, which Barclift told police he paid about $7,000 to purchase, was just for him to use and share with his friends and his colleagues in the rap music business, which is how he said he earned money.
Sibley said if that amount of cocaine were sold by the gram, it would result in a profit of about $35,400. She said it is unreasonable to think anyone other than a millionaire would give away $7,000 worth of anything — especially something that could result in more than $35,000 in profit — and that someone who traveled by bus would come to Maine to share $7,000 worth of drugs with his friends. Sibley noted when police, in an interview showed to jurors Monday and Tuesday, asked Barclift how long he planned to stay in Maine, he answered until the cocaine he had brought ran out.
“His response was until it is gone, his timeframe was based entirely on the cocaine,” she said in her closing arguments Tuesday. “This is exactly how the drug trade works. The state submitted evidence that shows Mr. Barclift possessed this amount of cocaine with the intent to traffic it. These amounts are consistent with only one thing. Trafficking.”
Following about an hour and a half of deliberations, however, jurors returned with a guilty verdict on a charge of aggravated furnishing of drugs. They found Barclift not guilty verdict on the more serious aggravated drug trafficking charge.
The difference is a trafficking charge reflects an intent to sell drugs in exchange for some form of payment, while furnishing simply indicates the suspect supplied someone with drugs.
The aggravated furnishing is a class B crime punishable by mandatory minimum of two years and a maximum of 10 years in prison. While a class A aggravated trafficking charge could bring up to 30 years in prison.
Barclift is scheduled to be sentenced June 30. He will remain free on $25,000 bail until sentencing.
His attorney, William Baghdoyan, argued in court that police had no evidence that Barclift was actually selling drugs, as police had not found smaller baggies, scales, lists of clients, any cutting agent, or weapons, and only $240 in cash, on him or in his two bags when they arrested him. He also reminded jurors that neither Augusta police nor MDEA agents had ever heard of Barclift before they received the anonymous tip.
“This is a case of the police jumping to a conclusion based on the evidence they had and the state is asking you to jump to or reach the same conclusion,” Baghdoyan told jurors. “There’s a big difference between trafficking and furnishing. What the police found really, here, is a guy who uses drugs, quite a lot of drugs. He was coming up here, using his product, sharing it, partying with his friends, the rap music people. And that’s furnishing.”
It was the first jury trial in Augusta in several months, as no jury trials have been held at the Capital Judicial Center, or at courtrooms across most of Maine, since September due to concerns about spreading COVID-19.
Superior Court Justice William Stokes thanked jurors, who wore masks and were spread out throughout the courtroom during the trial, both for serving during the pandemic and taking time out of their lives to fill their crucial role in the justice system.
“You’ve performed a wonderful service, not just in this case, or to this defendant, but for all your fellow citizens, all of us who are entitled to a trial by jury,” Stokes said.