In a drug sweep in the Lakes Region on Tuesday, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency charged a half-dozen suspects who authorities say have been dealing drugs including heroin, crack cocaine and prescription painkillers.

One of the suspects, Agostino J. Samson, 26, of Casco, was charged with killing a man with a frying pan in 2009 and leaving the body in a car to be hit by a train. He was acquitted by jurors who said there was no proof he did it.

Samson, as well as Agostino P. Samson, 58, of Harrison, Norman Hightower, 30, of South Paris, David Willette, 37, of Naples, Mark Glantz, 48, of Windham, and Kevin Edwards, 29, of Harrison, were charged with trafficking in drugs.

The arrests were part of a year-long investigation of drug trafficking in rural parts of Cumberland County that was sparked in part by telephone and web-based tips from the public, according to the sheriff’s office.

The arrests are the result of a collaboration between deputies with the county sheriff’s office and agents with the MDEA, an inter-jurisdictional task force made of loaned officers from different departments.  

“Drugs affect just about every other crime,” said Cumberland County Craig Smith. “We’re hoping (the arrests) not only put a dent in drugs but may put a dent in property crimes, person crimes and fraud. It’s all tied together.”

Sgt. Kevin Cashman of the MDEA said it made sense to arrest all of the suspects in a focused event even though they are not necessarily working together.

“We always assume, potentially, the traffickers do know each other and maybe have similar sources of supply,” Cashman said. “It’s a safety thing, too, for the agents and officers making arrests. They’re not expecting us.”

Cashman said the investigation took so long because building cases that will hold up in court takes time.

 

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: [email protected]