November 1, 2012

Local & State Dispatches

Two Scarborough women charged with trafficking, possession of crack cocaine / Feds nearing settlement in Maine submarine arson case / Injury to Arabian horse proves to be bullet wounds ... and more news from around the state.

From staff and news services

SCARBOROUGH

Two women charged with trafficking, possession

Scarborough police, working in conjunction with Old Orchard Beach police, have arrested two women on drug trafficking and possession charges.

Tania Margate, 39, of Old Orchard Beach, and Star-Asia Kelley, 23, of Brooklyn, N.Y., were taken into police custody at a Scarborough gas station on Tuesday.

Prior to arresting the women, police searched a Scarborough motel room where Kelley had been staying.

Police said they found 12 grams of crack cocaine packaged for sale. The cocaine is estimated to have a street value of $2,000. Police officers also found 5 grams of heroin with a street value of $5,000 and more than $2,000 cash in the motel room.

Kelley was being held at the Cumberland County Jail on Wednesday night on a Class B felony charge of trafficking a schedule W drug. Her bail was set at $10,000 cash.

Margate made bail Wednesday after being charged with unlawful possession of a Schedule W drug (crack cocaine), operating after suspension and failure to appear in court based on an outstanding warrant.

PORTLAND

Auburn man in court to face stabbing charges

An Auburn man accused of stabbing a woman multiple times last month made his first court appearance in the case Wednesday.

Jamie Mondragon, 31, is charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of reckless conduct in the incident Sept. 30. He was not required to enter pleas during the proceeding in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court.

Mondragon allegedly stabbed a 25-year-old woman repeatedly in an apartment in Brunswick. Three children were in the apartment at the time.

The woman's injuries were not life-threatening.

The U.S. Marshals Service arrested Mondragon in Fresno, Calif., two weeks later and he was extradited to Maine. 

Feds nearing settlement in submarine arson case

Federal prosecutors have submitted a "substantive proposal" to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard worker accused of setting fire to a nuclear submarine, according to a court document.

Casey James Fury, of Portsmouth, N.H., is charged with two counts of arson in the May 23 and June 16 fires at the shipyard. The May 23 fire caused an estimated $400 million worth of damage to the USS Miami, which was at the Kittery shipyard for a 20-month overhaul.

Federal Defender David Beneman wrote in the document that significant progress has been made in discussions about reaching a resolution to the case without an indictment. 

Cruise ship season ends with bit of 'Brilliance'

Maine's cruise ship season has come to an end.

The 962-foot Brilliance of the Seas arrived in Portland on Wednesday morning with about 2,400 passengers and 850 crew members. It departed for New York City on Wednesday evening.

The Royal Caribbean Lines vessel was the final cruise ship of the season scheduled to stop in Maine this year.

Two ships that were expected to make port calls in Bar Harbor on Wednesday canceled their plans because of Superstorm Sandy.

BRUNSWICK

Injury to Arabian horse proves to be bullet wounds

Brunswick police are trying to determine who shot and injured an Arabian horse with a small-caliber firearm on Coombs Road.

The owner of Flash, a 20-year-old brown horse, told police that the animal was fine Saturday but was bleeding Sunday.

It was not immediately clear what was wrong with the animal, said Deputy Chief Marc Hagan.

But when a veterinarian examined the horse Tuesday, it turned out there were three wounds. Two bullets hit the horse on the top of the head, breaking the skin but not embedding in the animal, Hagen said. A third shot punctured the horse's side.

The veterinarian opted to leave the bullet, saying it would be more dangerous to remove it, Hagen said. The incident is probably not related to hunting because most hunters do not use small-caliber firearms, Hagen said.

Police asked that anyone with information call 725-5521.

SULLIVAN

Mom facing drug charges after pupils get brownies

Police arrested a Maine mom after her child allegedly brought pot brownies to an elementary school and distributed them to fellow students.

The school superintendent says the student brought the marijuana, which police said was contained in brownies, to Mountain View Elementary School in Sullivan on Tuesday.

After the school interviewed students, several were suspended in connection with the pot brownies.

A Maine Drug Enforcement Agency agent told the Bangor Daily News that police concluded that the brownies belonged to the student's mother.

Amanda L. Hiser, 32, of Sullivan has been charged with trafficking of a scheduled drug.

She was released on Tuesday on a $500 unsecured bail.

CARROLL PLANTATION

Bowers Mountain project scaled back to 16 turbines

Maine's largest wind energy developer has submitted a scaled-back plan to build wind turbines on Bowers Mountain in eastern Maine, proposing 16 instead of 27 turbines.

The proposal has been submitted to state regulatory agencies, six months after the original project was rejected.

First Wind says its new plan would reconfigure the turbines to reduce visual impact, use more efficient turbines and new technology to leave lights off at night except when planes are in the area, and create a fund to improve deer habitat and promote local guides.

The $100 million project in Carroll Plantation would supply the average power needs of 25,000 homes.

PARIS

Teen driver in double-fatal asks to suppress statement

The lawyer for an Oxford teenager facing manslaughter charges for allegedly causing a car crash in West Paris that killed two friends has filed a motion to suppress statements made to police.

Passengers Rebecca Mason, 16, of West Paris and Logan Dam, 19, of Norway were killed in the crash on Jan. 7. A third passenger, Jacob Scaff, 22, of South Paris, was injured.

A lawyer for Kristina Lowe, 19, argued that when his client talked to a state trooper in the hospital the day after the crash, she was on strong painkillers and was not read her rights.

Police say Lowe admitted to texting while driving at the time of the crash in West Paris. Police say Lowe had also been drinking and smoking marijuana, and was driving 75 mph.

Lowe pleaded not guilty. Her lawyer blamed icy roads.

The Sun Journal reported that the prosecution and defense have until next week to submit information before the judge rules.

HAMPDEN

Backers urge passage of transportation bond

A coalition of nearly 20 community and professional groups is urging passage of Question 4 on next week's Maine ballot, the $51.5 million bond issue for highways, bridges and other transportation projects.

Among the supporters at a news conference Wednesday in Hampden were Bangor Mayor Cary Weston, Hampden Town Manager Susan Lessard, David Gelinas of the Penobscot Bay and River Pilots Association, and Irving Smith of H.O. Bouchard Inc., Maine's largest bulk carrier.

Smith says that in three decades, he's never seen Maine's roads and bridges in such disrepair. He says Bouchard's trucks travel 4.75 million miles in Maine and every mile of bad road costs the company money.

No organized opposition to the bond has surfaced, but some voters may be wary of additional state borrowing in general.

AUGUSTA

Panel clears Sen. Farnham, fines PAC for slow response

Maine's campaign watchdog panel has cleared a state senator from Bangor of improperly coordinating with a political action committee to direct $73,000 into ads against her opponent.

The Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices voted unanimously Wednesday to clear Republican Sen. Nichi Farnham of illegal coordination between her campaign and a PAC for which she was named an officer.

Farnham's race against Democrat Jeff Gratwick is one of the most closely watched and competitive legislative races as Republicans seek to maintain control at the State House.

Democrats were quick to point out that the ethics commission levied a $250 fine against the PAC for failing to update its registration paperwork when the principal officers changed. The original complaint was filed by the Maine Democratic Party. 

Simpson joins Bowles in endorsing Angus King

Former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming has endorsed Angus King for Maine's open U.S. Senate seat.

Simpson served in the Senate for 18 years and was assistant Republican leader. He also was co-chair of the bipartisan deficit reduction task force that came to be known as the Simpson-Bowles Commission. The commission's plan calls for a combination of spending cuts, tax reform and tax increases.

The other co-chair, Erskine Bowles, a Democrat and former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, endorsed King in September.

Both Simpson and Bowles said King could become an independent bridge between the deadlocked parties in the Senate. 

Conservative super PAC touts Dill to progressives

Another conservative super PAC is spending money on behalf of Democrat Cynthia Dill in the Senate race in hopes of drawing votes away from independent Angus King.

Safe Nation PAC is spending nearly $25,000 on a mailing that describes Dill as "the only Senate candidate progressives can trust." It also says progressives "can't take a chance on Angus King."

It's not the first time a conservative PAC has spent money on behalf of Dill in hope of drawing support away from King and thereby helping Republican Charlie Summers.

The GOP-led super PAC, Maine Freedom, earlier spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on TV ads urging Democrats to stick with Dill, describing her as a "bold progressive." 

State pays $700,000 in fees to foe in drug-privacy case

Gov. Paul LePage says the state has paid nearly $700,000 in opponents' legal fees in a court case that shot down a Maine law restricting drug manufacturers' use of information about the drugs doctors prescribe.

IMS Health Inc. sued the state of Vermont over a law requiring it to get doctors' permission before selling data on their prescription-writing habits to drug companies, which use the information to tailor drug sales pitches.

The U.S. Supreme Court last year ruled that Vermont's law was unconstitutional, thereby making a similar Maine law enacted in 2007 unconstitutional as well.

LePage says a federal judge last month ordered Maine to pay $678,000 in IMS Health's legal fees related to the case.

Vermont earlier this year was ordered to pay $2.4 million in legal fees in the case.

STARKS

Shooting victim airlifted after 'hunting incident'

A local man was taken by helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston after he was shot late Wednesday afternoon.

Kerry Hebert of Starks was shot, likely in a "hunting-related incident," a Madison police officer said.

Several townspeople said at the scene that Hebert was shot by a hunter on his property, but law enforcement officials would not immediately confirm that.

The shooting happened around Dickson Corner on Mayhew Road.

"It's still under investigation by the major crimes unit of the state police," said Maine State Police Sgt. Peter Michaud Wednesday night.

Hebert was lifted by lifeflight helicopter from the parking lot at Madison High School.

 

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