Gorham police arrested two people over the weekend on charges that they illegally used state-authorized electronic benefit transfer cards that belonged to individuals who were arrested recently on aggravated sex trafficking charges.

One of those arrested is the mother of a woman charged in the sex trafficking case, police said.

Detective Sgt. Dana Thompson said Monday that the arrests resulted from a joint investigation conducted by Gorham police and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Fraud Investigation and Recovery Unit.

Authorities said they learned in early April that EBT cards belonging to suspects in a sex trafficking ring were being used to make purchases throughout Greater Portland.

Thompson said the investigation led to the arrests of Donna Fernandes, 52, and Jeremy Seeley, 31, both of Gorham. Fernandes and Seeley were each charged with misuse of public benefits and theft by deception.

Fernandes and Seeley, who were arrested at 19 Woodland Road in Gorham on Friday and Saturday, respectively, were taken to the Cumberland County Jail, where they were being held Monday night.

The house in Gorham is the same residence where police arrested Klein Fernandes, Tamika Dias and Seeley in March on sex trafficking charges. The housemates allegedly arranged for a 19-year-old woman to engage in sex acts with strangers for money. The young woman fled after learning she might be sold to a pimp in Boston. Seeley made bail and was released, but Klein Fernandes and Dias are still being held at the jail.

EBT cards are issued to low-income families to buy food and other necessities.

Donna Fernandes, who has her own EBT card account, was already on state probation for aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs. Gorham police confirmed Monday night that Fernandes is Dias’ mother. Police said they are not sure if Klein Fernandes is related to Donna Fernandes.

Seeley is now facing the additional charge of violating bail conditions.

Thompson said that at the time of their arrests Gorham police confiscated three EBT cards belonging to Dias, Klein Fernandes, and a third person, who is not being named.

Dias has been held at the Cumberland County Jail since her arrest March 17 at 19 Woodland Road on a warrant charging her with aggravated sex trafficking. She owns an EBT card, which was used while she was in jail, police said.

Klein Fernandes has been in custody at the jail since March 14 following his arrest at 19 Woodland Road on a charge of aggravated sex trafficking and for a state probation violation. He also owns an EBT card, which was used while he was in jail, police said.

Gorham police said their investigation is continuing. More EBT cards could be confiscated and additional charges may be filed.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]