Heroin Distributor Sentenced

SNOW HILL — Providing further evidence of the growing heroin addiction problem in Worcester and across the Lower Shore, a Berlin man was found guilty of possession with intent to distribute this week in Circuit Court and was sentenced to four years in jail, all but one of which was then suspended.

Taylor Bakke, 24, on Tuesday entered an Alford plea to possession with intent to distribute heroin following his arrest in May in Ocean City. With an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges the state has sufficient evidence to prosecute the case.

On May 23, Ocean City Police observed Bakke texting while driving in the area of North Division St. and Philadelphia Ave. OCPD officers followed Bakke, whom they had known through prior contact as a drug dealer, to the area of 26th Street, where he pulled into a parking lot. Another individual entered Bakke’s vehicle from the passenger side and a drug transaction was observed. Bakke was subsequently arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin, hydrocodone and Alprazolam.

Following the entry of an Alford plea for the possession with intent to distribute heroin on Tuesday, Public Defender Burton Anderson asked Judge Thomas C. Groton to consider leniency at sentencing, suggesting Bakke was just another casualty of the growing heroin addiction problem on the shore.

“I keep coming back to that song ‘it’s the same old song’ when I consider this case and ask that he be treated with a degree of fairness because he has participated in the drug court program,” he said. “I feel a sense of sadness for those who come back a second or third time. All you have to do is tune into public radio to hear the growing problems with heroin addiction.”

While acknowledging the problem, Groton said Bakke had prior opportunities to take advantage of the drug court program and failed to do so before returning to the same pattern of dealing and using.

“Unfortunately, he didn’t take advantage of that opportunity in April and now he’s back with felony cases,” he said. “The commitment has to come from you and you get out of it what you put in.”

Groton sentenced Bakke to four years in jail and then suspended all but one year. He also placed Bakke on supervised probation for two years upon his release and fined him $500. Bakke was also ordered to successfully complete drug court.

“You need to take advantage of that program,” he told Bakke. “If you don’t, you’ll be back in here with three years hanging over your head.”