The Brunswick Police Department (BPD) discovered 126 marijuana plants, along with numerous semiautomatic weapons and ballistic vests, large amounts of cash, and dozens of illegal prescription pills when it attempted to arrest Brunswick resident Aaron Fickett on unrelated charges during a March 12 visit to his apartment.
Officers Kristian Oberg and Matthew Swan were on a routine patrol when they happened to run the license plate of Fickett, 27. They found an outstanding warrant for his arrest, issued when he failed to appear in court for charges of carrying a concealed weapon and refusing to submit to arrest.
The officers apprehended Fickett at his residence, 71 Cumberland Street, Apartment 2. According to Captain Mark Waltz, an overpowering smell of marijuana met them at the door. The suspicious officers asked to search Fickett's apartment, but he allegedly refused.
The terms of his bail from previous offences stipulated that he had to submit to such a search, so Fickett received an additional criminal charge.
Waltz said that the officers told Fickett, who was standing outside in his underwear, that they were going to take him to the police station, and suggested that he return to his apartment and put on some clothes. Fickett allegedly declined and insisted on heading to the station in his underwear.
The next day, Detective Richard Cutliffe obtained a search warrant, which led to the discovery of 76 marijuana plants, prescription pills, firearms, a ballistic vest, and $2,400 in cash.
Hours later, however, the police looked through a window and noticed ductwork in Apartment 3 that was similar to the ductwork in Fickett's apartment. They asked the landlord to search Apartment 3, which he believed to be vacant. Inside, they found an additional 50 marijuana plants, growing equipment, more ballistic vests, and more firearms.
By the time BPD obtained the search warrant, Fickett had posted $500 bail for the charge of failing to appear in court and had been released.
The Bangor Daily News reported that Fickett did hold a license to grow medical marijuana, but that he had far exceeded the terms of that license. BPD does not know who was buying this excess marijuana.
The situation is unusual because of the number of marijuana plants and weapons discovered.
"It's not unheard of, but uncommon in Brunswick," Waltz said of the scale of the operation.
Of more concern to Waltz were the ballistic vests and numerous guns, including two handguns, two assault rifles and a shotgun.
"Typically growers in Brunswick aren't armed. So it's a bit worrying," he said.
Several years ago, armed robbers stole from a marijuana dealer in Brunswick. Waltz suggested that the grower in this case might have been seeking to protect himself from a similar theft.
"No charges are pending at this time in relation to the search warrant, as the investigation is ongoing," BPD said in a statement.
Fickett could face additional charges including cultivation of marijuana and trafficking of scheduled drugs.
His problems, however, do not stop there. The Bangor Daily News reported that police in Newbury, Mass. arrested Fickett in 2008 when he attempted to escape from them in a car, allegedly tossing cocaine and heroin out the window as he drove away. In an interview with The Bangor Daily News, Cutliffe said that the Newbury Police did not issue a warrant for Fickett at the time, but now plan to do so as a result of his current charges.