Drug enforcement agents have arrested 30 people in Aroostook County as part of a four-month investigation into illegal sales of OxyContin, methadone and other prescription painkillers.
Agents with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency began the investigation in April after a deluge of complaints from local residents about prescription drug abuse. Undercover agents worked in southern and central Aroostook County for more than two months gathering evidence.
Darrell Crandall, MDEA division commander, said Thursday that the 30 suspects all sold retail prescription painkillers or other illegal drugs to the agents. Some of the suspects were connected while others were apparently operating independently, Crandall said.
The suspects, who were all arrested in recent weeks, are facing felony drug trafficking charges that carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. They likely will be arraigned in Aroostook County Superior Court in the coming months.
Crandall said the number of arrests underscores the severity of prescription drug abuse in Maine.
“I think it’s telling that we can set out to focus on distribution of retail prescription drugs, and over a two-month period we can have these results,” he said.
“People are getting fed up with it,” Crandall said. “They are picking up the phone and reporting what they know.”
At least 200 people in Maine have died annually in recent years from accidental drug overdoses, and a large portion of those deaths involves prescription painkillers, according to the MDEA.
The following people were arrested for allegedly selling hydrocodone, which is commonly sold under the brand names Vicodin and Anexia:
Jason Watson, 25, Island Falls.
Joshua Wenzlof, 28, Island Falls.
Robert Mayo, 80, Silver Ridge.
Denise Hitchcock, 38, Island Falls.
Horace Russell, 49, Merrill.
Thomas Woodbury, 47, Hodgdon.
Todd Cochran, 35, Caribou.
Heather Cochran, 29, Caribou.
The following people were arrested for allegedly selling oxycodone, which is commonly sold under the brand name OxyContin:
Dwayne “Davy” Anderson, 46, Houlton.
David Landry, 23, Houlton.
Chad Pocock, 28, Stacyville.
Calvin Bouchard, 48, Oakfield.
Verne Lee, 62, Oakfield.
Danny Carr, 26, Silver Ridge.
Heidi White, 28, Houlton.
Richard Cunningham, 46, Sherman.
Katherine Saucier, 56, Caribou.
Joshua Disy, 26, Caribou.
Heather Pelletier, 25, Caribou.
Henry Jolly, 26, Mapleton.
Kristy Hasting, 20, Caribou.
The following people were arrested for allegedly selling methadone:
Timothy Devoe, 46, Houlton.
Carrie Unterreiner, 26, Sherman.
Gloria Cahill, 42, Patten.
Kenneth Brackett, 49, Stacyville. Brackett also was charged with prohibited possession of a firearm by a felon.
Dawn Vose Gonya, 40, Houlton.
The following people are also facing drug-related charges stemming from the investigation:
Gary Shaw, 30, Houlton, who was accused of selling methamphetamines.
Calvin Thibodeau, 45, Littleton, who was accused of aggravated trafficking in methamphetamines.
Kyle Lyford, 20, Presque Isle, who was accused of selling cocaine.
Edward James Wilson, 41, Limestone, who was accused of selling heroin.