March 3, 2013

Police first thought prostitution case was part of major crime network

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

"The complexity of the investigation was overwhelming to me," Presby said.

Kennebunk police scheduled a meeting later that month with York County Deputy District Attorney Justina McGettigan after a detective from the Saco Police Department who specializes in computer analysis returned a report cataloging the quantity of evidence his work had uncovered.

Presby said that once she got forensic results back on Wright's cellphone and computer equipment, including hours of video footage with Strong's voice on every video, she made the determination that Strong was a "pimp or boss."

"Given the totality of all the video evidence and the forensics, I couldn't do this as a patrol officer. We have only one detective in Kennebunk, and I am not a detective," Presby testified. "I said: 'Based on what we have right here, this is going to be a large investigation; we're going to need some help.' "

By March 2012, the Maine State Police detective specializing in cellphone analysis, Leonard Bolton, had been assigned to the case, followed by a detective from the Major Crimes Unit, Sgt. Mark Holmquist, in April 2012.

With Holmquist's help, Kennebunk police began interviewing clients from Wright's list of more than 150 names.

"We were seeking to identify the male subjects from Ms. Wright's videos," Presby said. "We began to conduct interviews with what we had begun to call all the 'johns,' Ms. Wright's clients."

Holmquist testified last week that into May 2012 he was looking into extortion and whether any of Wright's clients were connected to Strong.

"We were going to take a small percentage of the list and the most prominent ones and interview them to see if there was any extortion going on," Holmquist said.

Holmquist explained that by "prominent," he meant "folks who would have good lines of work, who might have good access to money."

He said he was also looking into records that several different police agencies had run the license plate numbers of Wright's clients through a state Bureau of Motor Vehicles database. In multiple videos, Wright can be heard asking a man off camera to run the plates of Wright's clients as they arrived.

Holmquist said he thought at the time that he had reason to believe police were running plates for illegitimate reasons, as part of the prostitution operation.

"At the time, I wasn't aware that a private investigator had access to BMV records," Holmquist said.

Holmquist stayed on the case and was joined by a team of other Major Crimes Unit detectives and state police crime scene investigators on July 10, 2012, for the raids at Strong's properties in Thomaston.

But within weeks after the raids in Thomaston, Holmquist withdrew from the case, leaving the rest of the investigation to the Kennebunk police to lead.

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

sdolan@mainetoday.com

 

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