BANGOR, Maine — Maine Drug Enforcement Agency officers recently arrested two local men for selling prescription drugs within 1,000 feet of schools, and charged both with Class A aggravated drug trafficking, division Cmdr. Darrell Crandall said Friday.
The men were two were of 23 Bangor-area residents arrested over the last couple of months in investigations that focused on the illegal trafficking of prescription drugs, he said.
The two dozen arrests do not “tell us anything new,” Crandall said. “It just hammers home what we see every day — the state is dealing with an epidemic of abuse of prescription drugs.”
“Trafficking in these drugs is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison,” he said in a press release Friday. “The abuse of these powerful narcotics accounts for hundreds of accidental overdose deaths each year in Maine. During the investigations, other drugs were also encountered.”
Chad Brown, 36, who lives within 1,000 feet of Mary Snow School on Broadway in Bangor, was arrested for Class A trafficking Dec. 10 after selling oxycodone to an undercover MDEA agent.
“Midcoast agents had already made drug purchases from Brown in their coverage area, and Brown was also selling from his Bangor residence,” the press release said.
Chris Ennis, 49, who lives within 1,000 feet of James F. Doughty School on Fifth Street in Bangor, was arrested for felony aggravated trafficking Monday after an undercover MDEA agent purchased Suboxone.
“It’s a Class A [crime] because he did it within a school zone, and he two prior felonies,” said Garry Higgins, MDEA supervisory special agent for the Bangor-based North Central Regional Taskforce.
Suboxone is an opiate therapy drug, and “what we’re finding is, just like methadone, it is being widely diverted and sold, just like methadone,” Crandall said, adding that one “can” get high off it.
Brown also was convicted twice in the 1990s for drug trafficking.
“Our investigation didn’t show they [Brown and Ennis] were dealing to students, but we have no way of knowing if they were or not,” Crandall said.
Both Brown and Ennis were taken to Penobscot County Jail and remained there Friday evening. The penalty for a Class A felony conviction is up to 30 years in prison.
For Crandall, what stood out in the recent round of arrests were the distances the criminals would travel to get the illegal drugs. Seven of the recent arrests involved people who were planning to travel or who had traveled significantly to purchase illegal drugs.
The 23 drug trafficking arrests occurred in “a flurry of arrests that began in mid-October,” Crandall said.
The following people were arrested by MDEA agents:
• Joshua Kochis, 26, Bangor, trafficking in OxyContin.
• Shane Demarco, 50, Passadumkeag, two counts of trafficking in OxyContin.
• Stephen Jipson, 36, Passadumkeag, two counts of trafficking in OxyContin.
• Kenneth Giardi, 22, Bangor, trafficking in OxyContin.
• Sierra Perry, 20, Bangor, trafficking in OxyContin.
• Christopher Newton, 25, Plymouth, trafficking in Vicodin.
• Vanessa Newton, 23, Plymouth, trafficking in Vicodin.
• Fredrick Noyes, 49, Patten, trafficking in cocaine and methadone.
• Theresa Jo O’Shea, 42, Garland, trafficking in morphine.
• Robert Randall, 76, Glenburn, trafficking in morphine.
• Michael Brown, 22, Bangor (previously from Old Town), trafficking in OxyContin and morphine.
• Dwan Russell, 21, Bangor (previously from Old Town), trafficking in OxyContin and morphine.
• David Willette, 54, Bangor, trafficking in morphine.
• Henry “Hank” Nadolny, 46, Hermon, furnishing in marijuana and possession of cocaine.
• Karen Smock, 46, Old Town, aggravated trafficking in Vicodin and violation of probation for a prior trafficking conviction.
• Tammie Allen, 34, Glenburn, trafficking in Adderall and Soma.
• Carmine Licata, 37, Glenburn, trafficking in Adderall and Soma.
• Reginald Nash, 47, Plymouth, trafficking in OxyContin and morphine.
• Kyle Jennison, 27, Bangor, two count of trafficking in heroin.
• Christopher Mansell, 36, Bangor, trafficking in cocaine and violation of bail.
• Meghann Perry-Stewart, 35, Bangor, trafficking in cocaine and violation of bail.
Police departments in Bangor, Brewer, Old Town and Newport, along with University of Maine police, deputies from the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department, and Maine State Police troopers “played a substantive role in the investigations, searches and arrests,” Crandall said. “Their support and assistance were invaluable.”
Four other MDEA district task forces also assisted in the arrests and include Aroostook DTF, based in Houlton, Mid-Coast DTF, based in Thomaston, South Central DTF, based in Augusta, and Cumberland DTF, based in Portland.
Those with information on drug trafficking in their communities may contact the MDEA at 800-452-6457.