Smoke Shop Owner Bob Boggia Arrested for Multiple Felonies

Sunrise Cannabis in Machias was surrounded by law enforcement last Wednesday as officers sought owner Robert Boggia for "serious crimes". The State Police and Border Patrol were both on-scene. (Photo courtesy of Peter Scoville)

By Lura Jackson

 

The arrival of several law enforcement vehicles to the Downeast Smoke and Vape Shop on Main Street in Calais on February 14th led to significant speculation on the part of the community as to what prompted the raid. A similar scene took place in Machias at Sunrise Cannabis. A day later, Maine State Police issued a public notice that they were searching for Robert “Bob” Boggia, 32, of Whiting for “serious crimes” including gross sexual assault. 

Unbeknownst to the public, a manhunt was underway throughout the Washington County region for much of the week, targeting areas that Boggia was known to frequent. Road blocks were established in key points to attempt to detain Boggia or those who knew his whereabouts. The State Police Tactical team assisted the state troopers with the search, along with Border Patrol. After being unable to locate the fugitive, the public notice was issued on Facebook and through local media. “Several tips” soon came in, public information officer Stephen McCausland later shared. 

On Friday morning, Boggia was found on County Road in Trescott at the home of his girlfriend, Nicole Phinney. Boggia was captured and charged with the aforementioned gross sexual assault, burglary, robbery, domestic violence, and theft. Phinney, 45, was charged with hindering apprehension for her role in shielding Boggia from arrest.

Boggia is the owner and operator of the Downeast Smoke and Vape Shop and Sunrise Cannabis, both of which are licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. The Machias-based shop remains open for business while the status of the Calais-based shop could not be confirmed as of press day.

This is not the first time that Boggia has been arrested. In 2011, he was part of a five-person marijuana raid that spanned Washington and Hancock Counties. At the time, Boggia was 25 and living in Blue Hill, and he was on bail for aggravated assault. He was charged with cultivating marijuana and with violation of bail conditions. He received a $400 fine for cultivation and the bail violation was dismissed, according to District Attorney Matthew Foster.

During that 2011 arrest, Boggia was found with one pound of marijuana. In 2013, he argued in the state Superior Court that he was legally allowed to have that amount of marijuana as a medical marijuana user and caregiver – an argument that was overturned by the judge. A court affidavit from the time reads that law enforcement had developed information that he was having 2-3 pounds of marijuana mailed to him regularly from California, and provided that he had three convictions for marijuana possession in New Hampshire and was a suspect for a separate case in Massachusetts involving marijuana cultivation. 

In March of 2016, Boggia was arrested in New Hampshire the day following a domestic violence incident in Blue Hill, leading to his extradition back to Maine. Additional charges related to that incident include possession of a firearm and violation of bail.  

Boggia and Phinney are now being held at the Washington County jail. The Washington County jail is one of five jails facing potential closure by the state.