BANGOR, Maine — Police have arrested and charged three people with Class A aggravated trafficking in hallucinogenic drugs in what might be the first major bath salts bust in Maine since Gov. Paul LePage and the Legislature last week put teeth in the law banning the synthetic drug.
The stimulant and hallucinogenic drug was banned in Maine in July, but those caught possessing bath salts were issued a civil offense and dealers faced only a misdemeanor charge until last Wednesday, when the law was amended to make possession a misdemeanor and trafficking a felony.
Kevin Russell, 37, and Sandra Manning, 24, both of Bangor, and Dustin P. Davis, 22, of Hampden each had bath salts and drug paraphernalia on them when stopped late Saturday by Bangor police Officer Taylor Bagley, Sgt. Paul Edwards said Monday.
Each now faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000, if convicted of the felony aggravated trafficking charge.
Along with the bath salts, the trio also had several items of drug paraphernalia — burnt tin foil, Ziploc baggies, pipes and needles — in their possession along with a couple of knives, Edwards said.
“It’s an aggravated trafficking charge,” the sergeant said. “They all had something on or around them.”
Bagley stopped Russell at around 11:35 p.m. for driving on Union Street without his lights on and recognized one of the two passengers as Manning, who was wanted on two outstanding warrants. She was out on bail and had release conditions that allowed police to search her at any time, Edwards said.
“She was found with a white powdery substance — bath salts — pipes,” the sergeant said. “She also had a knife on her and other drug paraphernalia.”
Manning, who had been arrested by Old Town police on Aug. 15 for misdemeanor unlawful furnishing of synthetic hallucinogenic drugs, also was charged Saturday with violating her bail conditions and for the two outstanding warrants.
She has convictions for unlawful possession of scheduled drugs and possessing hypodermic apparatus, according to court listings printed previously in the Bangor Daily News. Russell has an assault and driving under the influence convictions and Davis was convicted of sale and use of drug paraphernalia, the court listings state.
Russell had a knife and a pair of studded brass knuckles in his pocket on Saturday and Davis tried to hide his bath salts in his shoe and had drug paraphernalia on him, Edwards said.
In addition to the felony bath salts trafficking charge, Russell also faces charges of trafficking in dangerous knives and carrying a concealed weapon, the sergeant said.
All three were booked into the Penobscot County Jail and by Monday morning only Davis had been released on bail, Edwards said.
“It’s a huge case,” he said, praising Bagley for his work.