BREWER, Maine — An investigation into suspected drug activity led to the arrest Wednesday of a local man on a felony drug trafficking charge.
Joshua Russell, 23, of Brewer, has been charged with aggravated trafficking in OxyContin, a Class A felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
As of late Thursday, Russell remained behind bars, unable to make bail initially set at $10,000 but lowered to $500 during a bail hearing Thursday at the Penobscot Judicial Center, according to Susan Pope, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County.
According to Brewer police Capt. Jason Moffitt, Russell was arrested after Brewer police, with the assistance of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency task force, executed a search warrant at Russell’s Elmwood Street home during a snowstorm Wednesday that paralyzed much of the state.
During the raid, police officers seized 50 80-milligram tablets of the addictive painkiller OxyContin, approximately $12,500 cash, drug paraphernalia and marijuana as well as a loaded .357 Magnum handgun that was on Russell’s bed, Moffitt said.
Moffitt said that the drug trafficking charge was elevated to aggravated because of the amount of OxyContin seized, the proximity of Russell’s home to a city park and the fact that he was in possession of a firearm.
Three other people were arrested because they were at Russell’s residence or arrived there while the raid was under way, Moffitt said, adding that police had parked their cruisers well up the street from the crime scene.
“It was like Grand Central [Terminal] in there for a while,” Moffitt said Thursday.
Charged with drug possession were Robert Maquillan Jr., 22, of Brewer; Nathan Ricker, 19, of Levant; and Elizabeth Williams, 22, of Hampden.
According to Moffitt, authorities suspected that Russell was engaged in narcotics trafficking and that an investigation led by Brewer police Officer Amy Nickerson with the assistance of Brewer police Detective Nelson Feero developed the probable cause needed to obtain a search warrant for Russell’s home.
The subsequent raid was conducted by Nickerson, Feero, Lt. Chris Martin, Officers Stephen Boyd, Liz Kelley and Roger Hershey and Detective Fred Luce, who is serving as a federal DEA task force agent, Moffitt said.