ELLSWORTH, Maine — A two-year investigation by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency’s Down East District Task Force resulted in the arrests Tuesday and Wednesday of eight Hancock County residents, according to an MDEA press release.
The arrests “disrupted a major drug ring” selling oxycodone in the county, MDEA Director Roy McKinney said in a statement announcing the bust Wednesday afternoon.
McKinney also reported that the investigation is continuing and that more arrests are likely.
On Tuesday, officers executed search warrants at residences in Ellsworth, Bucksport and Orland, reportedly seizing more than 33,000 milligrams of oxycodone worth about $40,000, as well as $35,000 cash.
Also confiscated were other assets linked to drug trafficking, including a Humvee, two ATVs, a motorcycle, jewelry and other precious metals.
According to the press release, agents opened the investigation in May 2011 because they suspected that Michael Wayne Clark Jr., 28, of Silver Lake Road in Bucksport was the ringleader of a group selling a significant amount of oxycodone in the area.
As part of their probe, agents made a number of undercover purchases of the illegal narcotic prescription drug, the release said.
Clark was arrested Tuesday and charged with two counts of unlawful drug trafficking and one count of aggravated drug trafficking. His charge was elevated to aggravated because more than 8,000 milligrams of oxycodone was seized in connection with his arrest, the statement said.
Nicolas Brendan Maguire, 24, of Stockton Springs, who also was arrested this week, was charged with four counts of unlawful drug trafficking.
Brandie Marie Higgins, 39, of Ellsworth; David Franklin Vaughn, 27, of Ellsworth; Joel O’Brian Allen, Jr., 26, of Orland; Wendy Cassidy, 31, of Bucksport; and David Maguire, 29, of Stockton Springs, each were arrested and charged with one count of unlawful drug trafficking.
Christopher Newcomb, 38, of Bucksport was arrested and charged with felony drug possession.
“This investigation highlights the epidemic of illicit prescription drug sales and use in the State of Maine,” McKinney said in the press release. “MDEA remains committed to working along-side our local, county, state and federal law enforcement partners in order to aggressively investigate, arrest and prosecute those individuals involved with the illicit distribution of prescription narcotics.”
The Bucksport Police Department, Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, Ellsworth Police Department, Maine State Police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration assisted the MDEA with the investigation.