BANGOR, Maine — A ninth person has been arrested in connection with an alleged conspiracy two years ago to distribute MDPV, also called bath salts. The drug is known to cause paranoia, convulsions and psychotic behavior in users.
Tina Keaton, 32, of Bangor, also known as “Fumble,” was arrested Thursday. She is one of 14 people indicted last month by a federal grand jury.
The number of defendants indicted appears to make this the largest bath salts conspiracy case prosecuted by the Maine U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Keaton pleaded not guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk ordered that Keaton be temporarily held without bail until a detention hearing can be held next week to determine if she is eligible to be released.
Eight others accused of taking part in the conspiracy between April and December 2011 to distribute bath salts in the Bangor area were arrested Tuesday. As of noon Friday, four had been released on unsecured bail with a condition the defendants not have contact with each other, among other conditions.
The names of the other five defendants have been redacted from the indictment. They are expected to be made public when they are arrested. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey on Friday declined to say when the remaining defendants might be arrested.
Ryan Ellis, 32, formerly of Greenbush and Dover-Foxcroft, also known as “Dude,” “Calvin” or “Piles,” has pleaded not guilty to four counts — conspiracy to possess and distribute a controlled substance, using or maintaining a drug-involved residence, unlawful use of a controlled substance, and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense.
Ellis was living and working in Piscataquis County when he was arrested on the federal charge Tuesday, his attorney Matthew Erickson of Brewer told Kravchuk at Ellis’ arraignment Thursday. He was on community release from the Charleston Correctional Facility serving a three-year state sentence on a drug charge when he was indicted on the federal charges, Erickson said.
Ellis, who is scheduled to be released in April, chose to return to the state prison to complete his sentence on the state charge rather than be held without bail while awaiting the resolution of the federal charges.
Alan Ketchen, 40, formerly of Bangor, who is known as “AJ” or “Hobbes,” pleaded not guilty to the drug conspiracy charge and an additional charge of using or maintaining a drug-involved residence at 10 Blackstone St. in Bangor to deal bath salts.
Ketchen will be held without bail on the federal charge until his case is resolved, according to documents filed on the court’s electronic case filing system.
Jamie Lewis, 37, formerly of Bangor, now of New Hampshire; Jacob Gagnon, 24, formerly of Bangor and now of Van Buren, also known as “Jake the Snake”; April Kane, 28, of Gorham; and Gina Nelson, 30, of Bradley have been released. All pleaded not guilty to the drug conspiracy charge.
Daniel Hines, 37, of Orrington and Adam Hathorn, 35, of Bangor are being held without bail on the drug conspiracy charge. Both have pleaded not guilty.
If convicted, defendants charged in the alleged drug conspiracy face up to 20 years imprisonment and a $2 million fine. In addition, Ellis and Ketchen face up to 20 years and fines of up to $500,000 for maintaining drug-involved premises if convicted on that charge.
On the gun charges, Ellis faces up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine for possessing a firearm while using drugs and between five years and life to be served consecutively to any sentence on the conspiracy charge for carrying firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Ryan Ellis pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess and distribute a controlled substance, using or maintaining a drug-involved residence, unlawful use of a controlled substance, and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense. Ellis has pleaded not guilty to those charges.