PORTLAND – An Eliot man has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison for growing marijuana and keeping a cache of guns and ammunition in his apartment above a child care center.

David Widi Jr., 27, was arrested on Nov. 28, 2008, the day his home on the Harold Dow Highway was searched.

Federal agents seized 17 marijuana plants, 2,773 rounds of ammunition and seven guns, ranging from a two-shot pistol to an Uzi machine gun.

At his trial in April in U.S. District Court, a jury convicted Widi of manufacturing marijuana and being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.

Judge George Singal said the tough sentence he handed down Wednesday was warranted to protect the public.

Singal said Widi perjured himself during the trial when he claimed that federal agents planted evidence in his apartment. The judge also found that Widi made a threatening gesture to a government witness during the trial, a factor that increased the sentence.

The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Darcie McElwee, requested a 10-year sentence for Widi.

“He is a danger to the community. His attitude suggests that he will continue to be,” McElwee told Singal. “He believes that he is above the law.”

Widi’s attorney, Peter Rodway, asked the judge to sentence Widi to the 22 months he has already served. Rodway said Widi has narcissistic personality disorder, and his aggressive behavior with lawyers and in court has distracted both sides from the facts of the case.

“He had seven guns,” Rodway said. “There’s zero evidence that these guns were going to hurt anybody or that they had hurt anybody in the past.

“This is a screwed-up kid. He doesn’t need to go to a gladiator factory. He needs treatment.”

Widi spoke on his own behalf. He told the judge that he had been railroaded by agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who he alleges manipulated evidence and staged photographs to convict him.

Widi said his constitutional rights have been violated ever since his arrest nearly two years ago. He also said that statements attributed to him by confidential informants were false and absurd, and have harmed the reputations of himself and family members.

Before the raid of Widi’s apartment, informants told police that Widi was stockpiling weapons and had said he was “ready for war” and “preparing for the end of the world,” according to court records.

“Those untrue allegations will follow me for the rest of my life,” Widi said.

Widi graduated in 2001 from Marshwood High School in South Berwick, where he was a guard and a linebacker on the football team. He worked as a tile contractor before his arrest.

According to newspaper archives and court records, Widi has been arrested at least eight times in New Hampshire and Maine since December 2001, mostly for misdemeanors such as disorderly conduct and contempt of a protective order.

In July 2004, Widi was indicted on a felony charge of reckless conduct. He allegedly drove his pickup truck at two people in Portsmouth, N.H. He was convicted later that year in Rockingham County Superior Court.

Under federal law, people who are convicted of felonies are not allowed to possess firearms.

 

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

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