June 18, 2018
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Two Aroostook men charged with drug trafficking

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Two Aroostook County men and their alleged Florida-based drug supplier were arrested by agents with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency on several trafficking charges, MDEA division commander Darrell Crandall said Friday.

Robert Merriam, 50, and Jason Parsons, 32, both of Presque Isle, and 23-year-old Joseph Bolda of South Daytona, Fla., were arrested earlier this week.

They have been charged with aggravated trafficking in oxycodone, a Class A crime punishable by up to 30 years in jail and a $50,000 fine.

Crandall said Friday that the investigation began several months ago, when agents based in The County began looking into reports of Merriam receiving large quantities of prescription painkillers from Florida and selling them.

With the assistance of U.S. postal inspectors, records were found that showed packages coming from Florida to Presque Isle. On Oct. 6, a package containing 750 oxycodone tablets was intercepted en route to Presque Isle. The retail street value of the drugs is $30,000, according to MDEA.

At the same time, agents intercepted a package destined for Bolda, which contained $4,600, Crandall said. The investigation revealed that more than 20 similar deliveries of drugs and money occurred between April and October of this year, he said. Merriam was arrested on Oct. 6 and taken to Aroostook County Jail. Parsons was arrested at his Washburn Road residence on Tuesday.

MDEA agents obtained a felony arrest warrant for Bolda, and agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement took him into custody Wednesday night. Bolda faces extradition to Maine.

Crandall said Friday that MDEA investigations often result in identifying Maine residents selling potent prescription painkillers they obtained in Florida. Some get them through the mail or a parcel service, while others travel to Florida and obtain the drugs directly from one of the countless pain clinics that have popped up in strip malls and other retail outlets. While Florida is not the only source state, it is quickly becoming a favorite of criminal drug traffickers in Maine, he said.

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