December 26, 2013

Alleged central Maine cocaine conspirator misses bus, loses bail

Judge OKs forfeiture of New Yorker’s cash after he twice failed to show up in court in Maine to face charges stemming from Waterville and Augusta area drug bust.

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

Failing to turn up for two hearings in federal court proved costly for one defendant who was charged with 21 others in a cocaine distribution conspiracy ring operating between New York and central Maine.

The prosecutor had sought forfeiture of James Proudfoot’s $100,000 bond, including the $6,000 in cash that secured it, and the judge agreed.

“To miss a bus once may be a mistake; to miss twice is more likely deliberate,” wrote Chief Justice John A. Woodcock in a recent decision in U.S. District Court in Maine.

Proudfoot, 33, of New York, had been scheduled twice for hearings in Bangor at which it was anticipated he would change his plea from not guilty to guilty.

“The court concludes that the defendant’s marijuana use and criminal charge would not justify forfeiting the bail but his failure to appear at two scheduled hearings, his subsequent disappearance, and his resisting arrest, separately and in combination, justify the requested bail forfeiture,” Woodcock ordered.

Proudfoot failed to appear May 31 and then on June 5, telling his attorney in the first instance that he missed the bus from New York City to Maine, and in the second instance telling his probation officer he was on the bus. However, he was not on the bus when it arrived in Maine.

On June 25, deputy U.S. Marshals went to his girlfriend’s Bronx apartment, with an arrest warrant for him.

A report filed with the court said the girlfriend first said Proudfoot wasn’t there. However, a search found him in her son’s back bedroom “in the back of a closet, hiding behind plastic storage containers.” The officers said they used a Taser on him after he resisted arrest.

Proudfoot pleaded guilty Aug. 1 in U.S. District Court in Bangor to a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone. He is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in Bangor at 1 p.m. Jan. 31.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey sought forfeiture of Proudfoot’s bail, saying “his use of marijuana while on bail constitutes a criminal offense and, therefore, a violation of his bail conditions.”

Government filings indicated the $6,000 cash that secured the bail was posted for Proudfoot by his girlfriend.

According to court filings by Henry Griffin, Proudfoot’s attorney, “While (Proudfoot) had been clean and sober and in treatment for six months, he relapsed under the pressure of his impending plea and certain period of incarceration.”

Proudfoot was originally arrested in the Southern District of New York on May 30, 2012. He pleaded not guilty to the Maine drug charge on June 8, 2012, and was permitted to live in New York while the case was pending.

According to the prosecution’s version of events, Proudfoot’s role in the conspiracy was to go to sources in New York and get drugs for Maurice McCray of Waterville, who later admitted selling them in central Maine. Proudfoot was arrested at a Boston bus station with 82 grams of cocaine.

While Proudfoot was on bail, U.S. Probation Officer Mitchell Oswald said in an affidavit that Proudfoot was arrested in New York Oct. 27 and charged with criminal sale of marijuana and two counts of possession of marijuana.

Oswald also said Proudfoot tested positive for marijuana on six occasions between July 16, 2012, and May 13.

Documents show Proudfoot previously was convicted in New York County of criminal sale of a controlled substance 4th degree and sentenced to three to six years in May 2004.

Betty Adams — 621-5631badams@centralmaine.comTwitter: @betadams

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