Man charged after police seize 8 pounds of cocaine

A traffic stop on Tuesday led to one of the state’s largest seizures of cocaine in recent memory, the Maine Department of Public Safety announced Wednesday.

Adam White, 26, of Falmouth was charged with two counts of aggravated trafficking of cocaine after police seized 8 pounds of cocaine in Portland and Falmouth.

Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Director Roy McKinney said the street value of the cocaine is $160,000 to $200,000. Also seized from White was $13,730 in cash, two handguns and three-quarters of a pound of marijuana, McKinney said.

White was driving a Cadillac on Stevens Avenue in Portland on Tuesday afternoon when police pulled him over for an undisclosed reason. Officers found cocaine and a handgun in the car, the department said.

Police obtained a search warrant for White’s home on Rockaway Drive in Falmouth, where investigators found more cocaine, the money and the marijuana. They also found packaging materials, a money counter and scales, the department said.


Sappi donating $100,000 to STEM program at USM

A paper company is giving $100,000 to a University of Southern Maine science and tech program for Maine’s top high school graduates.

Sappi Fine Paper North America pledged the money, over four years, to support the USM Pioneers Program, which was established in 2011 for students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

Each Pioneer gets a full, four-year scholarship, a computer, special on-campus housing, faculty mentors, paid internships and opportunities to work directly with USM faculty on research projects. The Sappi donation will be used for scholarships and off-campus trips.

State, education and business leaders have forged new partnerships and dedicated resources to support STEM education in recent years, as the skills gap in Maine widens. The state does not have enough college graduates in the STEM fields to fill the demand by Maine companies, officials say.

“We anticipate having nearly 30 percent of our work force retire in the next five years and so there is a huge demand for STEM-related jobs,” said Donna Cassese, managing director of Sappi’s Westbrook Mill.


Bath painting contractor charged with felony theft

A midcoast painting contractor who allegedly stole thousands of dollars in jewelry and cash from his clients was charged with felony theft Tuesday after turning himself in to authorities.

Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry said Matthew Atwood, 35, of Bath turned himself in at the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset, where he was charged with one count of felony theft. He was later released on $5,000 cash bail.

Merry said the theft charge stems from work that Atwood, who owns Atwood Painting Co., did last month at a home in Georgetown.

Investigators allege that Atwood stole an estimated $11,000 in cash and jewelry from the home’s owner. Some of the jewelry, valued at $7,000, has been recovered at a local pawn shop.

Merry said police suspect that Atwood may have stolen jewelry or cash from other homes he worked in during the past year and are asking local pawn shop owners or members of the public to come forward with information.

If anyone has recently hired Atwood and found items missing, they are encouraged to call Cpl. Aaron Skolfield at 443-9711.


Former DEP worker admits destroying public records

A former hazardous-materials cleanup specialist for Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection has pleaded guilty to destroying records of projects he was involved in for the final three years of his career.

Jon Andrews, 58, of Augusta entered a plea under the Alford doctrine to a charge of tampering with public records, which means he acknowledges there is enough evidence to convict. Under the plea, the case is continued for five months and will be dismissed if Andrews meets certain conditions, including a $3,500 donation to Maine’s Coastal & Inland Surface Oil Cleanup Fund.

Andrews’ lawyer told the Kennebec Journal that his client did nothing wrong and was simply cleaning out his desk.

Prosecutors say Andrews was disgruntled and destroyed the records as a “parting shot” at the department.


New plates commemorate World Acadian Congress

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap says new commemorative license plates marking next year’s World Acadian Congress are now available for purchase.

They are the first commemorative plates produced by the state since the United States celebrated its Bicentennial in 1976.

In 2014, the World Acadian Congress will be hosted by the international region known as Acadia of the Lands and Forests, which incorporates the northernmost part of Maine, as well as northwestern New Brunswick and southeastern Quebec.

The World Acadian Congress is held every five years in a region of the world that’s inhabited by Acadians. It draws more than 50,000 visitors from 44 countries and has an economic impact that exceeds $50 million.

The plates are available for sale at participating credit unions throughout Maine.


Tow truck strikes school bus but no injuries are reported

Police say no injuries were reported after a tow truck hit a school bus.

The bus was carrying 23 schoolchildren when it was struck from behind by the tow truck on Tuesday morning.

Police said the bus had slowed down to make a turn when it was hit. They said the cause of the crash is being investigated.


Police say propane stored in pickup caused explosion

Police say propane stored in a pickup truck caused an explosion.

They said that small bottles of propane hooked up to a hand-held torch and a 100-pound propane container were inside the truck before it caught on fire. The truck had been having electrical problems before it burst into flames on Tuesday.

Firefighters stopped the flames before they spread to the nearby house. WZON-AM reported that they also removed the tank before it ignited.


Drug agents seize $450,000 worth of bath salts in mail

Maine drug agents say they have seized $450,000 worth of so-called bath salts that were in a package mailed to a man who was charged just last month in a separate case involving $1.2 million worth of the drugs.

Officials last week searched a package mailed from China to a mail facility in Hampden. Inside the package, agents found more than 6.5 pounds of bath salts, a synthetic drug that can make users delusional and violent.

The MDEA said the package was addressed to Leonard Wells at an address in Greenbush. Wells was one of four people charged last month with drug trafficking in connection with the seizure of 18 pounds of bath salts.

Nobody has been charged in last week’s seizure, but police said arrests are expected.


Mainer accused of murder wants statements tossed

The attorney for a Maine man charged with fatally shooting a Florida firefighter over a drug debt wants a judge to throw out statements his client allegedly made to police.

Jeffrey Silverstein told a Waldo County Superior Court judge Tuesday that statements Daniel Porter, 25, made to police in Connecticut last February should be inadmissible because Porter wasn’t read his Miranda rights. A few days later, Porter was charged in Maine in the death of Jerry Perdomo, 31, of Orange City, Fla.

WLBZ-TV reported that prosecutors told the judge said that when Connecticut police questioned Porter in a hotel room, they didn’t read him his rights because he wasn’t under arrest and was free to leave at any time.

Porter has pleaded not guilty to murder.


Town board votes to accept $41,000 from errant logger

The Livermore select board has voted to accept a nearly $41,000 settlement from an insurance company representing a Jay logger who harvested trees on about 10 acres of town land without permission.

The board voted Tuesday to unanimously accept the payment, which represents the value of the trees removed from Memorial Forest last year, the cost of a property line survey and the cost of the timber valuation.

Town Administrative Assistant Kurt Schaub told the Sun Journal that no decision has been made on what will be done with the money.

Officials said John Korhonen cut down trees on his own land then inadvertently harvested about 1,250 trees on town land. Schaub said it is a logger’s responsibility to know where property lines are.


Police arrest pair for selling oxycodone, seize 200 pills

Maine drug agents say they have arrested two men who have been selling oxycodone pills in Lincoln and Knox counties for months.

Police on Tuesday arrested Andrew Goupil, 33, of Wiscasset, and Joseph Dupaw, 68, of Dresden, as they were about to board a ferry to Vinalhaven.

Agents also seized 200 oxycodone pills worth an estimated $7,000 and more than $1,500 in cash at the time of the arrests.

Goupil, who has prior drug convictions, is facing a charge of aggravated trafficking. Dupaw is charged with trafficking and violating bail conditions from a recent assault arrest. They are being held at the Knox County jail. It was not clear whether they had lawyers.

Police say the pair had been under investigation for several months.