12th person arrested in Bangor bath salts conspiracy

Posted Aug. 23, 2013, at 4:31 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The arraignment of Michael “Bub” Tardiff in U.S. District Court on Friday brought to an even dozen the number of people arrested in connection with a bath salts distribution ring that allegedly operated between April 1 and Dec. 31, 2011.

Tardiff, 53, of Old Town pleaded not guilty to one count each of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and using or maintaining a drug-involved place at 49 Loonie Loop in Old Town.

He is one of 14 people indicted last month by a federal grand jury 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.

Tardiff was arrested Thursday, according to information posted on the court’s electronic case filing system. The circumstances surrounding his arrest have not been made public.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk on Friday ordered Tardiff temporarily held without bail. A detention hearing is scheduled for next week.

Jessica Bryden, 20, of Greenbush was arrested Aug. 9 and denied bail a week later. She pleaded not guilty to the same charges Tardiff did.

Steven Orosco, 23, of Orrington was arrested Aug. 16. He pleaded not guilty to the drug conspiracy charge. Orosco was released Aug. 19 on $5,000 unsecured bail.

The names of the other two defendants have been redacted from the indictment. Their names are expected to be made public when they are arrested.

Nine others accused of taking part in the 2011 conspiracy to distribute bath salts in the Bangor area have been arrested. All but five have been released on unsecured bail with a condition the defendants not have contact with each other, among other conditions.

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 in Old Town with Bryden and Tardiff, 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 Aug. 6, according to a previous published report. 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. He chose to return to the state prison to complete his sentence on the state charge rather than be held without bail on the federal charge.

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.

Tina Keaton, 32, of Bangor, also known as “Fumble”; 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 on bail. 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 in prison and a $2 million fine. In addition, Ellis, Ketchen, Bryden and Tradiff 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.

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