Rockland man to serve 3 years in Mass. jail for trading stolen guns for drugs

Posted Feb. 19, 2013, at 1:43 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — A 30-year-old Rockland man will spend three years in a Massachusetts jail after admitting he traded guns, stolen in Maine, for drugs.

Charles Dodge pleaded guilty Friday to trafficking in firearms, conspiracy to violate Massachusetts drug laws, and conspiracy, according to a court clerk in Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Mass.

Dodge was back in the same court Tuesday when he was sentenced to three years and one day in jail, according to the court clerk.

Dodge was one of two midcoast area men indicted in Massachusetts as part of a larger investigation into the trading of stolen guns from Maine for drugs in Massachusetts. The case against Harley Winchenbach, 20, of Cushing and Waldoboro remains pending, according to Maine Drug Enforcement Agency supervisor James Pease.

The investigation began when officers raided a room at the Hampton Inn in Thomaston in April 2011 and arrested two New Bedford men on drug trafficking charges.

Members of the New Bedford Police Department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives then began seizing guns from gang members in New Bedford. Ten to 15 handguns and one submachine gun that had come from the midcoast Maine area were seized in New Bedford, according to police.

Pease said a lot of the weapons had been stolen from residential burglaries in Knox County and the adjacent Lincoln County town of Waldoboro.

Dodge initially had been arrested and held in jail in Maine on an unrelated charge and was transferred to Massachusetts after his sentence here was completed.

Dodge was scheduled to go to trial this week in Massachusetts before he changed his plea to guilty.

Several material witness subpoenas had been served over the past month on midcoast residents, ordering them to testify at Dodge’s trial.

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