PORTLAND — A Biddeford man faces a minimum sentence of five years in federal prison and a maximum of 40 years for attempting to distribute cocaine in the summer of 2020. A non-binding plea agreement worked out between the prosecutor and defense counsel recommends a five-year sentence.

Keith Mitchell, 33, pleaded guilty to the Class B federal felony charge during an appearance at U.S. District Court in Portland on Thursday, July 29.

Mitchell was initially arrested and charged with failing to stop for police and violation of bail conditions in connection with an unspecified 2019 Westbrook arrest, and so was subject to searches — which turned up drugs.

Police said during the investigation, Mitchell was found to be wearing a ziplock bag concealed in a drawstring bag in his pants containing 62.9 grams of cocaine base and 50 grams of a cutting agent. Investigators also found he was separately carrying $1,474 in cash.

According to court records, at about 9:45 p.m. July 7, 2020, Biddeford and Saco police officers and investigators with  the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency were observing a suspected drug trafficking location on George Street in Biddeford. Investigators saw Mitchell, who also went by the name “Simms,” arrive at the property, go inside, and then drive away  in a dark-colored SUV with Pennsylvania license plates about 15 minutes later, without turning on the headlights. Mitchell initially failed to stop for police, according to the affidavit on file at the court, but then did so.

With the help of their drug-sniffing dog Ibo, Maine State Police found a hidden compartment behind the SUV’s radio console that contained a white powdery substance and also found a scale in the back of the vehicle.

A sentencing date has not been set.

A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering U.S. guidelines and other statutory factors.

Should the court reject the sentencing agreement worked out between the prosecution and defense, Mitchell has agreed that he will not be permitted to withdraw his guilty plea, according to the court documents. He also agreed to waive his right to appeal a sentence of 71 months or less.

Biddeford and Saco police departments, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, and the FBI investigated the case.

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