December 21, 2013

Maine police had been watching home prior to Augusta drug bust

Eight of 10 arrested Wednesday, four of them alleged gang members, appear in court Friday.

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — For some time, law enforcement authorities had been watching the home at 1 Penley St., where 10 people were arrested Wednesday.

click image to enlarge

Top row: Darvent Cummings, left, and Kenya Evans; 2nd row: Ricquell Lindo, left, and Tyshawn Mack; 3rd row: Ryan Minoty, left, and Nathaniel Taylor; 4th row: Tyrone Wilkins, left, and Shaquanna Khaleelah Jones; Bottom: Peter Gleason.

Blankets and towels covered the windows, and multiple air mattresses were strewn through rooms. There was a lot of suspicious traffic in and out, according to a court affidavit by Brian Wastella, an officer with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

That home, occupied by Peter Gleason, 32, was also the target of a drug investigation in May 2011, Wastella said. In that instance, officers found drug paraphernalia and what they described as “drug residue.”

Authorities said heroin trafficking took place at the house and was related to gang activity, in particular to the Black P. Stones, also known as the Almighty Black P. Stones, a street gang in the East Stroudsburg, Pa., area.

A number of those arrested are from that region.

Eight of 10 people rounded up in the drug bust Wednesday made initial appearances Friday in Augusta District Court via video link from the Kennebec County jail.

They were arrested after Augusta police and MDEA officers executed a search warrant at the home following a report that heroin was being dealt from the house and that a handgun had been seen on one of the numerous people coming and going from the residence.

The person who made the report to Augusta police on Dec. 13 also said one person coming and going from the house offered to sell heroin.

Police executed the search warrant at 11 a.m. Wednesday and found almost 44 grams of heroin and five grams of methamphetamine, “digital scales, plastic baggies to include packaging materials, what appeared to be a ledger and drug paraphernalia,” Wastella said.

Nine defendants face charges of aggravated trafficking in heroin, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

Defense attorneys Lisa Whittier and Stephen Bourget represented eight of the defendants Friday. Whittier reserved argument on bail for most of the defendants until each had an attorney.

Heroin also was reportedly found in a backpack belonging to a 17-year-old girl, who is also charged. But because she is a juvenile, she did not have a hearing Friday.

None of the defendants directly addressed the judge.

The next hearing for most of them was set for 8:30 a.m. Feb. 11.

Judge Beth Dobson set Gleason’s bail at $10,000 cash with a Maine Pretrial supervision contract or $25,000 worth of real estate. Whittier said Gleason has no prior criminal record and is a Maine resident.

Tyrone Wilkins, 23, of Stroudsburg, Pa., was ordered held on $50,000 cash on the aggravated trafficking charge and without bail on a charge of violating probation. Bourget entered a denial on Wilkins’ behalf to the probation violation charge. Wilkins, who was released from the Maine prison system Dec. 13, had given 1 Penley St. as his new address.

Bail for the following defendants was set at $50,000 cash:

Nathaniel Taylor, 19, of 5th Avenue, New York;

Tyshawn Mack, 21, of West Main Street, Bath;

Darvent Cummings, 22, of East Stroudsburg, Pa. He was released from the Maine prison system Dec. 4.

Riquell Lindo, 20, of Stroudsburg, Pa. Wastella’s affidavit also says Lindo sold 20 single doses of heroin and a gram of cocaine on Feb. 28 in Richmond as part of a police sting involving a confidential informant.

The judge set bail for Kenya Evans, 20, of Stroudsburg, Pa., at $10,000 cash.

Bail for Shaquanna Jones, 18, of Mount Pocono, Pa., was set at $5,000 cash. Sibley and Whittier told the judge that Jones has family support, no criminal history, and is scheduled to begin college in January.

Ryan Minoty, 21, of Augusta, who police said came to the house 20 minutes before the bust, was charged with unlawful possession of heroin and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released on $1,500 unsecured bail.

“Minoty admitted to being an addict and stated he was at the residence to purchase heroin,” Wastella said.

Wastella’s affidavit said Pennsylvania probation and parole officers as well as drug agents there confirmed that Cummings, Lindo, Mack and Wilkins are members of the Black P. Stones, which is also affiliated with the P Stone Nation and Bloods street gang.

“The Black P. Stones had begun moving gang members to the central Maine area approximately two years ago,” to sell illegal drugs, Wastella said.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

badams@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @betadams

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