BANGOR, Maine — One of the four people arrested in connection with a major bath salts bust in Hermon in mid-January pleaded not guilty Thursday to aggravated drug trafficking and other charges during an arraignment hearing at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
Leonard D. Wells Jr., 53, who owns the Hermon home where the state’s largest-ever seizure of bath salts was made on Jan. 18, and three alleged accomplices were indicted by a Penobscot County grand jury on March 27 for Class A trafficking, a crime that carries a penalty of up to 30 years behind bars for those convicted.
Wells, who has been described as a key figure in the sale of bath salts in Maine, also was indicted for unlawful trafficking in synthetic hallucinogenic drugs; two counts of unlawful possession of synthetic hallucinogenic drugs; hindering apprehension or prosecution; two counts of violating conditions of release; and criminal forfeiture of U.S. currency.
Wells is being held at Penobscot County Jail without bail.
Also charged in connection with the alleged bath salts trafficking operation were Wells’ stepson, Stephen Warren, 29, of Corinth; and Houston, Texas residents Elizabeth Fuentes, 31, and Arthur Coy, 49.
A court appearance scheduled for Warren on Thursday was postponed.
Police said they found Wells, Warren, Coy and Fuentes in the process of packaging up about eight pounds of bath salts on Jan. 18, and have since said they seized 10 pounds mailed to Coy in Texas, and 6.5 pounds mailed to Wells that was seized at the Hampden U.S. Postal Service sorting center.
A total of 24½ pounds, with an estimated street value of $1.7 million, has reportedly been seized. All the bath salts were shipped to Maine from China, law enforcement officials said.
Wells originally was released on $50,000 cash bail on Jan. 18, but was arrested three weeks later after he was found hiding out at a house in South Thomaston during a bail search with 20 grams of bath salts in his pockets, police say.