The FBI has charged 18 people with trafficking a variety of drugs following multiple drug raids conducted Thursday in Hancock and Washington counties. Among them was one man from Hancock found to have 265 grams of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid often mixed with heroin that’s substantially more potent than heroin.
As part of the same sweep, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency charged an additional seven people Thursday on drug-related charges, for a total of 25 defendants.
The raids followed months of investigation by state, county and federal officials into the acquisition of crack, cocaine, heroin and fentanyl in New York City and its distribution in Washington and Hancock counties, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Eleven separate affidavits were filed this week in U.S. District Court in Bangor as a result of the drug busts.
“The investigation resulted in the execution of seven search warrants yesterday that resulted in the seizure of several firearms, including, but not limited to, a sawed-off shotgun, and large quantities of crack and fentanyl,” federal prosecutors wrote in the release.
Raids conducted Thursday at houses in Beals Island, Jonesport and Sullivan also turned up more than $16,000 in cash, according to federal court documents. At a raid at a house on Indian River Road in Jonesport, drug enforcement officers found more than an ounce of suspected cocaine base, also known as crack, hidden in a spare tire in the trunk of a black Cadillac that had no license plates and was parked in the driveway.
The people charged by the FBI are:
— Kevin Leroy Barner, 53, of New York City
— Jordy Callado, 18, of New York City
— Timothy Cates, 40, of Cutler
— Christopher Cruz, 30, of New York City
— Vestin Drisko, 40, of Beals Island
— Miguel Angel Franco, 22, of New York City
— Milo Dannell Germany, 21, of New York City
— Cinque Grasette, 42, of New York City
— Mujahadeen “True” Hasan, 28, of New York City
— Chandra Hanscom, 44, of Cutler
— Renita “NeNe” Honea, 57, of Jonesport (also known as Renita Robinson)
— Julian Lloyd, 24, of New York City
— Cody Look, 30, of Cutler
— Christopher Martinez, 29, of New York City
— Barry McCarthy, 43, of Columbia
— Robert McKenna, 48, of Indian Township
— Ralph Sawtelle, 27, of Lubec
— William Smeal, 32, of Hancock
Each faces a charge of distribution of drugs, possession with intent to distribute drugs or maintaining drug-involved premises, according to court documents. Defendants charged with drug trafficking face up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine while those charged with maintaining a drug-involved premises face up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, according to federal officials.
Kristen M. Setera of the FBI’s public affairs office in Boston declined Friday to comment further on the arrests.
Smeal was charged this week by federal officials, on a charge of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, as a result of a Feb. 13 arrest in Ellsworth. That arrest followed a search of Smeal’s 2005 Mercedes in Ellsworth and his home in Hancock.
Investigators found 111 grams of what they initially said was heroin but, after testing, proved to be fentanyl in the car, along with $1,200 in cash, according to federal court documents. Police found 36 more grams of fentanyl at his house and, after searching his car again on March 20, found an additional 118 grams of fentanyl hidden inside the vehicle. The street value of the drugs seized from Smeal in February is estimated to be more than $50,000, police said at the time.
A 3-milligram dose of fentanyl is enough to kill an average-size adult male.
Those charged by the MDEA with various drug trafficking offenses are:
— Jessica Dana, 36, of Indian Township
— Amber Douglas, 24, of Lubec
— Wayne Dube, 43, of Jonesport
— Rachel Dwyer, 46, of Sullivan
— William Gatcomb, 49, of Sullivan
— John Moholland, 50, of Princeton
— Craig Price, 29, of New York City
Cutler resident Timothy Cates, who has been charged in federal court with maintaining a drug-involved premises, also was charged by the MDEA with unlawful possession of fentanyl.
The federal investigation resulted either in raids or undercover observations at various locations in Beals Island, Jonesport, Sullivan, Lubec, Hancock, Columbia and Indian Township, according to federal court documents.