PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A 31-year-old California man was arrested in the parking lot of a Presque Isle bar on Thursday and hit with a felony charge of selling methamphetamine.
Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Director Roy E. McKinney said Saturday that agents arrested Chhiva Chit of San Diego and charged him with the crime. He also is being held as a fugitive from justice.
Agents said the arrest is the culmination of an MDEA investigation that began in late summer. Agents were looking into the increased availability of commercial-grade crystal methamphetamine in the central Aroostook County area.
During the investigation, MDEA agents identified two local retail distributors and immediately began collecting evidence on them, according to McKinney. The agents learned that a suspect from out of state was supplying the two and delved deeper into the situation.
On Thursday evening, agents allegedly witnessed a methamphetamine transaction between Chit and one of the local dealers, according to an MDEA statement. The agents immediately made arrests and seized a small amount of methamphetamine and the money used to buy it.
They then searched a local residence where Chit had been staying, seizing more than an ounce of crystal methamphetamine.
The MDEA reported that during the entire investigation, agents seized crystal methamphetamine with a combined local retail value of more than $6,000, the statement said.
There was no evidence to suggest that any of the methamphetamine was manufactured locally, according to the statement.
Chit reportedly attempted to conceal his identity, but agents used state and federal databases and fingerprint analysis to determine that Chit was a fugitive from justice.
The MDEA said Chit is wanted in California on arrest warrants charging him with violation of parole and robbery.
Chit was on parole for an attempted murder conviction when he allegedly committed the new robbery offense in California, according to the MDEA statement. He is believed to have been on the run since March.
Agents also gathered evidence linking Chit to an organized street gang in California.
California authorities are seeking Chit’s extradition after he answers the Maine charges.
The MDEA said that areas of Aroostook County were hard hit by crystal methamphetamine abuse in the mid- to late 1990s and that the enforcement and treatment costs associated with gaining control over the problem at that time were “staggering.”
Agency officials said Saturday that the MDEA “is committed to applying all necessary resources to keep from getting to that point again.”
Anyone with information on methamphetamine trafficking or any other drug-related crimes in Maine may call MDEA, toll-free, at 800-452-6457 or go to the MDEA Web site at www.maine.gov/dps/mdea/drugtip.html.