When Russell Gordon was arrested at 66 Smith St. in Portland on Friday morning, he had 120 grams of crack cocaine and $9,000 cash but was facing eviction for failing to pay $2,800 in back rent, according to court papers.

Gordon was among four people charged in connection with distributing crack cocaine after an FBI raid at the house.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Gordon, 31, of Ansonia, Connecticut, known by several names including “Murda,” “M1,” and “Black”; William Weston, 34, of Portland, also known as “Wild”; and Marco Gordon, 34, of Detroit, who also goes by “Detroit.” All three were charged with possession of cocaine base with the intent to distribute, according to a news release.

Prosecutors charged Kristi Lowell, 30, of Portland, with maintaining a place to make, distribute and use drugs.

Russell Gordon faces as much as 40 years in prison, and the others face as much as 20 years.

The case is part of a 16-month investigation into cocaine trafficking involving several municipal, state and federal law enforcement agencies, according to court papers and a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The investigation of 66 Smith St. began after a shooting incident there in July that residents told police was related to someone named “Murda” stealing 20 bags of marijuana, according to an affidavit by FBI Special Agent Christopher Peavey.

Police described the July incident as a home-invasion robbery in which two armed men forced their way into the apartment and demanded money. Nobody was injured. The gunshot struck the door of another apartment in the building.

Investigators intercepted telephone calls and text messages, and used hidden cameras to track the activities at 66 Smith St.

Police on Thursday overheard a telephone conversation in which Russell Gordon complained to Marco Gordon that “they” had just been served with an eviction notice for the apartment unless they could pay $2,800 in rent, Peavey wrote. Court papers indicate the apartment had been leased by Lowell since at least July and that she lived there with her children.

She told investigators that she pays half the $1,400 a month rent and Russell Gordon, with whom she has a child, pays the other half.

In the telephone conversation, Russell Gordon said “he was out $4,000” and “couldn’t go back empty-handed,” Peavey wrote. Russell Gordon “wanted to get through stuff as fast as possible” and wanted to sell his drugs at Franklin Towers and leave town, the affidavit said.

When police executed a search warrant at 66 Smith St., they found the drugs, divided into small doses for sale, inside a Crown Royal liquor bag and found the cash under a mattress. They also found Weston and Russell Gordon.

Lowell was arrested in her car, a Lincoln Aviator, a short time after the raid, court papers said.

It was not clear where Marco Gordon was arrested. However, the Portland Housing Authority reported that FBI agents made at least one arrest at an apartment at Franklin Towers that was related to the Smith Street raid, although the housing authority had no other information. Franklin Towers, a high-rise residential building at the corner of Franklin Street and Cumberland Avenue, is operated by the housing authority.

When agents raided the Smith Street apartment just after 8:30 a.m. Friday, Portland police were out in force to assist the FBI in the East Bayside neighborhood. Residents reported hearing an explosion and seeing a flurry of activity, after numerous officers blocked off streets in the area. Officers told one resident that the explosion was a distraction device, often used by police to confuse suspects in surprise raids.

By late Friday afternoon, there were no signs of the earlier police activity. The blue and white building at 64-66 Smith St. where the arrests occurred was empty except for one tenant, who would not speak to a reporter other than to say he was glad the neighborhood is being cleaned up.

Staff writer Gillian Graham contributed to this report.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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Twitter: @Mainehenchman