South Thomaston meth lab suspect challenges police search

Posted April 25, 2013, at 1:40 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The attorney for a 35-year-old man accused of operating a methamphetamine lab at his father’s property in South Thomaston has asked the court to throw out the evidence seized in the February search that led to his arrest.

And the attorney for Paul Mahonen Jr., 35, of South Thomaston also argued for a change in his client’s bail.

Mahonen was arrested in February and indicted in April on a charge of aggravated trafficking of methamphetamine.

He has been held on $10,000 cash bail at the Knox County Jail in Rockland since his arrest.

Defense attorney Jeremy Pratt filed a motion April 19 in Knox County Superior Court to throw out evidence seized during a raid conducted by police at the property on Route 131. The search warrant was obtained after police improperly seized an item from the property during an earlier visit to the residence when another drug suspect was arrested, according to the motion filed by Pratt. The motion did not specify what was taken.

Leonard Wells, 53, of Greenbush was arrested the week before the raid, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety. Wells was found hiding in the house and in possession of 20 grams of bath salts. He had been out on bail from his January arrest in one of the l argest bath salt seizures in Maine, in which eight pounds of the drug reportedly was recovered.

Pratt argued at a court hearing Wednesday that bail should be amended to be $5,000 cash or $15,000 surety. The attorney said Mahonen’s father was ready to put his property up as bail.

Mahonen is not a flight risk, Pratt argued. He also said bail conditions could include house arrest and daily check-ins with local police.

Assistant Attorney General William Savage argued against the change in bail, pointing out that running a meth lab was a serious offense. Mahonen has a fairly substantial criminal record that includes escape, drug possession and violating conditions of release.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm kept the cash bail at $10,000 but agreed to allow for surety bail, which he set at $50,000.

Hjelm said if Mahonen did not make bail, the hearing on the motion to throw out evidence from the police search would be given a priority.

Mahonen was still being held Thursday afternoon.

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