ELLSWORTH, Maine — Personnel from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency arrested an Ellsworth High School custodian Friday morning on two counts of felony aggravated drug trafficking.
Frank Trundy, 53, of Ellsworth was charged with aggravated trafficking in two kinds of prescription painkillers, some of which were prescribed to him and others he allegedly purchased from an Ellsworth High student, according to Ellsworth police Sgt. Glen Moshier.
One of the trafficking charges was a Class A felony punishable by a minimum mandatory four-year prison term, MDEA Division Commander Darrell Crandall said Friday evening. He said the charges were elevated to aggravated because the alleged drug activity occurred at the school.
Trundy is being held at Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth on bail set at $5,000 cash, $25,000 surety, a jail official confirmed Friday afternoon.
Crandall said Trundy’s bail conditions will prohibit him from being on RSU 24 property. His initial appearance in Hancock County Superior Court is set for Jan. 20, 2012.
Trundy’s arrest, which took place in the school’s maintenance area, was the culmination of an MDEA investigation that began on Monday when a school administrator received information about alleged drug activity involving the maintenance worker and contacted Ellsworth police, Moshier said. Ellsworth police then called in MDEA agents, who led the investigation.
Crandall said that early Thursday morning, an undercover MDEA agent arrived at the school posing as a new custodian and worked beside Trundy for the day. Before the end of that day, Trundy purchased codeine tablets from one of the students and sold some of those drugs to the agent.
Trundy then allegedly agreed to sell narcotics he had at his home to the agent the next morning, Crandall said. He said Trundy showed up for work Friday morning and sold 10 hydrocodone tablets to the agent in the school’s parking lot.
A short time later, other MDEA agents and Ellsworth police entered the maintenance area of the school and discretely took Trundy into custody without incident, Crandall said.
Also on Friday, Ellsworth police charged two high school students as a result of the investigation, which involved covert drug purchases, Moshier said. About a dozen students were questioned about alleged drug activity over the course of Friday morning, he said, adding that the investigation is continuing.
Moshier said that one of the students, a 17-year-old whose name is being withheld because he is a minor, was summoned for furnishing a scheduled drug.
An 18-year-old student, whose name wasn’t immediately released, was charged with trafficking in a scheduled drug, he said.
Both students were released to their parents from the school, Moshier said.
Moshier credited school administrators for their roles in the effort to curb drug activity at Ellsworth High, adding that to his knowledge, Trundy’s arrest was the first of its kind at the school.
“The entire administration has been very aggressive,” he said.
“It is quite uncommon for a situation like this to arise and to have everything come together so that we can address it so quickly,” he said. “Quick reporting and cooperation from the RSU administration, along with support and cooperation from Ellsworth police, made this outcome possible.
“We took great pains to make sure this operation was safe for all involved — with the focus being on the safety of the students and school staff. Everyone wants children to be safe at school and that includes being safe from illegal drugs.” Crandall said.
RSU 24 Superintendent Suzanne Lukas applauded the response from state drug agents and city police.
“We were very impressed by the successful efforts of the [Ellsworth] Police Department and the MDEA to quickly respond, investigate and make an arrest, while cooperating with school officials to minimize disruption to the school environment and avoid distress for our students and staff,” she said in a written statement issued Friday night.
“The RSU 24 administration extends it sincere thanks to the law enforcement authorities for their professionalism, skill and sensitivity to the safety and emotional well-being of our students,” she said, adding, “School officials will remain vigilant regarding any possible illegal activity and will continue to collaborate with local law enforcement to protect our schools and school grounds.”
Lukas said school officials are continuing to investigate student involvement in the matter and will take action in accordance with drug and student discipline policies. The administration and RSU board have zero tolerance for the use, possession or distribution of illegal substances in their schools, she said.
Moshier said that Trundy moved to Maine from Long Island, N.Y., where he reportedly worked for a school system there. He said the janitor had no prior drug convictions but had been convicted of operating under the influence.
Information on drug crimes may be reported to MDEA by calling 1-800-452-6457 or by going to its website, www.maine.gov/dps/mdea.