EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — Police seized six to eight pounds of marijuana and arrested four men this weekend in capping a nearly three-month investigation into Katahdin region drug sales, Police Chief Cameron McDunnah said Monday.
George Sprague, 30, and Ethan Hitchcock, 22, both of Medway and Kevin Day, 49, and Chris Willigar, 29, both of East Millinocket were charged late Friday with cultivation of marijuana. They posted bail and are due in Millinocket District Court on Dec. 5, McDunnah said.
The marijuana has an estimated street value of about $15,000, the chief said.
“It is an excellent job for everybody involved,” McDunnah said Monday. “It was good teamwork, good information — a good multijurisdictional investigation.”
Police allege that Day, the target of the investigation, ran the marijuana operation. Police used confidential informants and surveillance to build a case charging that Day and the other suspects grew the plants on banks of the East Branch of the Penobscot River in Soldiertown Township and in fields nearby before taking it to Day’s home on Maple Street for processing and eventual sale, McDunnah said.
Police believe that the suspects used two-way radios to conduct countersurveillance as part of their operation, McDunnah said.
McDunnah and Officers Jason Ingalls, Steve Perreault and Richard York found a set of radios, 2½ pounds of processed marijuana, scales, clippers, work gloves and other drug paraphernalia when they searched Day’s home on Friday night, McDunnah said.
Day, McDunnah said, consented to the search after Maine Warden Service Game Wardens James Davis and Scott Martin took Day and Hitchcock into custody in a field off Route 11 in Soldiertown Township at about 7 p.m. Friday.
Game Wardens Andrew Glidden and Seth Powers found about a dozen large black trash bags, several duffel bags and a large plastic tote all carrying four to six pounds of unprocessed marijuana when they stopped Sprague and Willigar in Sprague’s Toyota pickup truck on the Grindstone Road near the rest area shortly after Day and Hitchcock were taken into custody, McDunnah said.
The game wardens found a dozen marijuana plants in Soldiertown Township on Saturday, McDunnah said.
McDunnah, Davis, Glidden, Perreault, York and Penobscot County Sheriff’s Deputy Patty McLaughlin searched the house. McLaughlin also assisted the game wardens when they stopped the pickup truck on Route 11, McDunnah said.
More charges are likely when Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy reviews the case within the next several days as part of the ongoing investigation, McDunnah said.
“I am very, very pleased with how everybody worked together to make this happen,” McDunnah said. “It’s a good take off the streets.”