POLICE BEAT

Marijuana raids lead to five arrests in Washington, Hancock counties

Posted Sept. 19, 2011, at 5:51 p.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — Five men in Washington and Hancock counties were arrested this past weekend by agents with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

After a lengthy investigation, agents executed four search warrants on Friday, Sept. 16, at residences on Ackley Road in Cutler, on Yellow Birch Road in Whiting, on U.S. Route 1 in Whiting, and on Beech Hill Road in Blue Hill, according to Darrell Crandall, MDEA division commander.

Charged with cultivation of marijuana and trafficking in marijuana were Robert Boggia, 25, of Blue Hill and Whiting, Craig Young, 26, of Whiting and Ryan Sargent, 25, of Cutler.

Boggia and Sargent also are accused of bail violations. Boggia was on bail for aggravated assault and Sargent for operating under the influence.

All three are scheduled to make initial appearances in Washington County Superior Court in November.

Eleven MDEA agents, four Maine State Police troopers and five Hancock County Sheriff’s Office deputies, with support from officers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, carried out the search warrants.

Crandall said the MDEA investigation began some months back after reports that Boggia, then of Blue Hill, and others were growing large quantities of marijuana which were to be harvested and sold. Agents conducted surveillance and were able to determine where the marijuana was being grown and the residences where drugs and other evidence were being stored.

In the raids, agents reportedly seized more than 250 marijuana plants, processed marijuana, more than $15,000 in cash, two handguns and other evidence of marijuana cultivation and trafficking. Large indoor growing operations allegedly were found at the Cutler residence and at one of the Whiting locations. At one of the Whiting properties, agents also reported finding a loaded .45-caliber pistol. Plants growing outdoors were found at the second location in Whiting, while grow lights, large quantities of pruned marijuana leaves, a handgun and other items were found in Blue Hill, authorities said. More than $15,000 in cash and marijuana reportedly was found hidden in a cereal box in Boggia’s 2007 Chevrolet truck. The truck was also seized.

In an unrelated case, MDEA agents also arrested John Snider and Jason Cramer, both 39, in Harrington late Thursday, Sept. 16. Both men allegedly were caught as they were leaving an outdoor marijuana growing operation with a garbage bag full of marijuana they had just harvested. MDEA agents had been watching the grow site, which initially was found and reported by a Maine game warden. After the arrests, agents uprooted more than 100 mature marijuana plants from the grow site, which was in a wooded area off George Town Road in Harrington.

Snider and Cramer are charged with cultivation of marijuana and are scheduled to make an initial appearance in Washington County Superior Court in November.

Crandall lamented the loss of seven of 49 drug agents because of budget cuts, stating that his agency was finding it challenging to apply resources to small, illegal marijuana cultivation operations.

“However, we will continue to aggressively pursue large scale, profit driven, criminal enterprises,” he said.

Anyone with information on drug crimes may call MDEA toll-free at 800-452-6457 or go to the MDEA website, www.maine.gov/dps/mdea.

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