Federal authorities have arrested 10 people and are seeking another person in connection with a Connecticut-to-Maine cocaine ring that used drug addicts in the Bangor area to buy guns for the ring at pawnshops.

The 10 were arrested Thursday after federal prosecutors obtained indictments against them on Feb. 12 in U.S. District Court in Bangor, according to court records unsealed after their arrests.

“There were 11 individuals, five of whom were in custody, five of whom were arrested and one of whom is at large,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark said Friday.

Clark declined to give more details about the case, but a partially redacted eight-page indictment that was unsealed with other court records Thursday provides some information.

All 11 are accused of conspiring to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine between Jan. 1, 2010, and Aug. 30, 2013.

Four of them – Jeffrey Benton, Christian Turner, Willie Garvin and Jeremy Ingersoll-Meserve – are accused of giving cash to addicts to buy 15 handguns from pawnshops in Brewer and Bangor, according to the indictment.

“It was part of the conspiracy that the straw purchasers made false representations in the forms that the pawnshops were required to keep in connection with the sale of each firearm,” the indictment states. “It was part of the conspiracy that the straw purchasers turned the firearms so obtained to defendant Turner and others knowing these persons were not residents of the State of Maine, whereupon the straw purchasers were compensated with currency and controlled substances for engaging in the transaction.”

Turner and others would then take the guns to Connecticut for Benton and others to use, according to the indictment.

The indictment identifies 15 guns purchased that way from Feb. 7, 2012, to May 16, 2013, including 9 mm, .357-caliber, .40-caliber and .45-caliber semi-automatic pistols and two .357 Magnum revolvers. They are also accused of obtaining other guns illegally from 2011 to 2012 in private transactions with Maine residents in exchange for drugs.

Benton, 30, of Brooklyn, New York, and formerly of New Haven, Connecticut, is also known as “JT,” “Tallman” and “Fresh.” He faces five years to life in prison if convicted.

Turner, 29, formerly of New Haven, Connecticut, is also known as “P.” He faces 10 years to life in prison.

Garvin, 22, of New Haven, Connecticut, is also known as “Black” or “Tank.” He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Ingersoll-Meserve, 37, of Waldoboro, also faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Others arrested include: Jermaine Mitchell, aka “Melo” or “MB,” 43, formerly of New Haven, Connecticut and Orono; Torrence Benton, aka “T-Black,” 27, of Windham; Jacqueline Madore, 34, of Rockland; David Chaisson, 22, of Bangor; Akeen Ocean, aka “A” or “Alex,” 22, of Bangor; and Wendell White, 48, of Rumford.

All remain in custody pending court hearings. The name of the 11th person was redacted from the indictment.

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

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