March 16, 2010

Augusta bust nabs 6,$20,000 in narcotics


AUGUSTA -- Drug agents have arrested six people and seized drugs worth more than $20,000 after a lengthy investigation into what agents described as a Massachusetts-based trafficking organization.

Maine and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agents working with Augusta police arrested six people during a warranted search at two motel rooms Tuesday, said Darrell Crandall, division commander of the of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Ashlie Williams, 21, of Vassalboro, was charged with drug trafficking, Crandall said.

Five others, including four from Massachusetts and one from New Hampshire, are also facing drug trafficking charges, Crandall said. All of those arrested were still being held at the Kennebec County jail as of Thursday afternoon, Crandall said.

The search netted heroin, cocaine, and OxyContin tablets with a combined value of more than $21,000, Crandall said.

Agents also seized two handguns, one of which was loaded, and a 1997 Lexus.

Crandall declined to specify where the bust occurred.

The search followed several weeks of surveillance that showed nearly daily trips between Augusta and Massachusetts, Crandall said. Agents also observed the drugs being sold here in Maine.

The arrests came a day after agents arrested eight people at a Bangor motel as the result of an investigation unrelated to the Augusta bust.

The Bangor operation, like that in Augusta, was under surveillance for some time, Crandall said. Drug agents made covert drug purchases from members of the organization, Crandall said, and drugs were sold from an apartment within 1,000 feet of a school, which makes the trafficking charge aggravated.

Drug agents and Bangor police executed a search warrant at two motel rooms late Monday and seized heroin, crack cocaine and powder cocaine valued at approximately $2,100, Crandall said.

Specially trained tactical teams were used during the busts in both Bangor and Augusta because police believed the suspects may be armed, Crandall said.

"The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency is a tremendous partner and our collaboration is continuing across the state," Steven Derr, special agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, said in a news release. "These arrests are demonstrative of what can be achieved working together."

The arrests in Bangor and Augusta highlight the increasing number of traffickers coming to Maine and establishing sale operations in motels or apartments, Maine DEA Director Roy McKinney said in a release.

"These drug arrests highlight a continuing and disturbing trend in the distribution of drugs in Maine," McKinney said. "Out-of-state traffickers view Maine as a lucrative market."

Crandall said this week's arrest in Augusta represent a small portion of the overall organization.

"We consider this type of activity to be very substantial," Crandall said. "The amount of drugs seized would not represent the significance of the activity itself."

Craig Crosby--623-3811, ext. 433

Items seized during Augusta drug bust

* heroin, valued at $2,400

*15 grams of cocaine, valued at $1,500

*137 80-milligram OxyContin tablets, valued at $13,700

*75 40-milligram OxyContin tablets, valued at $3,650

* $6,846 in cash

* 1997 Lexus

*two handguns, one loaded

Arrests charges made during Augusta drug bust

*Matthew Sullivan, 22, of Lynn, Mass.; aggravated drug trafficking

*Andrew Mumbauer, 21, of Peabody, Mass.; aggravated drug trafficking

*Daniel Sullivan, 25, of Lynn, Mass.; drug trafficking

*Gordon Newton, 25, of Dorchester, Mass.; drug trafficking

*Kathryn Bush, 24, of Farmington, N.H.; drug trafficking

*Ashlie Williams, 21, of Vassalboro; drug trafficking

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