BANGOR, Maine — Five Mainers and a Californian are facing felony drug charges in connection with an OxyContin importation ring stretching from California to Maine, the commander of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency reported Tuesday.
Arrested and charged with trafficking in OxyContin, a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $20,000, were:
— Casie Levesque, 26, of Madawaska.
— Carl Thibeault, 28, of Madawaska.
— James O’Hare, 22, of Van Buren.
— Haley Perkins, 19, of Van Buren.
— Matthew McCurdy, 20, of North Waterboro.
MDEA Commander Darrell Crandall said Tuesday the case has been forwarded to the District Attorneys’ Offices in Aroostook and York counties for review and that all five suspects have been released on bail.
Also arrested and charged in connection with the case was John Goldman, 40, of Petaluma, Calif., according to Crandall. Crandall said that arrest was handled by authorities in Petaluma, who charged Goldman with possession for the purpose of sales of a controlled substance and transportation of a controlled substance.
Crandall said Tuesday that the investigation that led to the charges began in November with an anonymous tip to Aroostook County Crime Stoppers. Crandall said the tipster said that a Madawaska couple would be retrieving a package containing the powerfully addictive painkiller OxyContin from the Presque Isle post office. The caller reported that this was not the first such shipment, and that the couple was selling the drugs in Aroostook County.
Working with agents from the U.S Postal Inspection Service, state drug agents confirmed the presence of the incoming package and set up surveillance at the post office. Levesque and Thibeault were arrested in November outside the post office after agents recovered an Express Mail package sent by Goldman containing 45 80-milligram OxyContin tablets.
As the investigation continued, agents determined that Goldman had sent two other shipments of OxyContin to O’Hare and Perkins, who also were arrested in November. The probe also revealed that more than a dozen packages had been shipped to McCurdy, who turned himself in last week, according to Crandall.
Financial records seized in both Maine and California show money being transferred from the Maine suspects’ accounts to Goldman’s accounts in California, Crandall said.
Overall, he said, agents can account for more than 40 packages being shipped into Maine over a six-month period in 2008. The street value of the drugs is estimated at $140,000, he said.