April 24, 2019
Mid-Maine Latest News | Tim Throckmorton | Bangor Metro | Marijuana Legalization | Today's Paper

MDEA arrests 5 on drug charges in Somerset County

BANGOR, Maine — The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency on Tuesday arrested five people for their roles in distributing crack cocaine and fentanyl throughout Somerset County.

More than a pound of crack was seized, along with fentanyl and a gun, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said Wednesday in a news release.

Arrested and charged with aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs were: Markwan Granville, 19, of Rochester, New York; Jamie Martinez Betances, 29, of Rochester, New York; a 17-year-old male from Rochester, New York; and Rhonda Goldsmith, 43, of Vassalboro.

Bail for Granville, Betances and the juvenile was set at $50,000, while Goldsmith’s bail was set at $25,000, McCausland said.

The Class A felony trafficking offense carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Also arrested in connection with the operation was Jeffrey Charette, 47, of Winslow, who was charged with unlawful furnishing of schedule W drugs, a Class D offense. His bail was set at $2,500.

Responding to community complaints, agents from the MDEA South Central District Task Force, along with investigators from the Somerset and Kennebec County sheriff’s offices, the Fairfield and Gardiner police departments and the Maine State Police conducted a two-month investigation into the distribution of crack cocaine and fentanyl in the county, McCausland said.

The investigation indicated that a group from Rochester, New York was traveling to Maine regularly with large amounts of drugs that were sold to local users.

On Tuesday, Gardiner police learned that the group was suspected of storing a large amount of drugs at 376 Center Road in Fairfield, he said.

Agents and investigators established surveillance of the Center Road residence as a search warrant was being secured. During the surveillance Goldsmith, Granville and the teenager were observed leaving the Fairfield residence and were subsequently stopped in Augusta.

Charette and Martinez Betances also were stopped in Charette’s vehicle as they left the Fairfield residence.

During the search on Center Road, agents seized approximately 516 grams, or 18.4 ounces, of crack cocaine and 59 grams, 2.1 ounces, of fentanyl. A loaded handgun also was seized.

The approximate street value of the drugs is $72,000, McCausland said.

After they were arrested, all five were taken to Somerset County Jail, where bail was set.

The aggravating factor in their charges was the presence of a firearm and weight of the drugs.

The investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are expected, McCausland said.

Agents are also investigating what connection the homeowners, who were not present at the time, and the numerous people who stay at the residence have to the investigation.


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