LEWISTON – A massive, months-long investigation into cocaine and heroin trafficking in the Lewiston/Auburn area culminated last Friday with an early-morning raid at 20 locations throughout the Twin Cities.

Approximately 135 public safety officials participated in the pre-planned raid, which resulted in the immediate arrest of nine people on various drug-related charges, according to U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty, speaking at a news conference in Lewiston on Tuesday.

Two more suspects were picked up in New York City and three others were already in jail on unrelated matters. Those 14 have been charged in federal court.

By Monday, 10 more individuals had been arrested in connection with the same drug investigation and now face state charges in Androscoggin County Superior Court.

Delahanty acknowledged that the 24 total arrests, while significant, may not make a big dent in the illegal drug trade in southern Maine, but he hopes it sends a message to dealers.

“We want the drug dealers to know we’re coming after them and they cannot rest,” he said.

The coordinated raid was the result of an investigation that began last spring and involved several local, state and federal agencies.

The investigation targeted traffickers of cocaine, heroin and oxycodone in the Lewiston/Auburn area. Many of those involved had ties to the New York City drug market, something that is becoming all too common, the U.S. Attorney said.

“There is a sign in Kittery … that says Maine is open for business,” Delahanty said. “But it does not apply to those involved in the distribution of any form of illegal drugs.”

Kieran L. Ramsey with the FBI’s Boston office said Friday’s raid was deliberately high-profile.

“We do these roundups to have an impact, an immediate impact … on the quality of life of these communities,” he said.

Delahanty did not reveal many specifics of the investigation because he said it must still go through the court system.

He declined, for instance, to say whether other people are suspected of being involved in the operation. He also would not say definitively that all 24 were involved in the same drug trafficking network or quantify how big the bust was compared to others.

“You can’t put it on a scale,” he said. “Sometimes one person can do more harm than a large group. But this is significant.”

He did say that the drug dealers targeted were not “low-level,” but “ones that are playing a more significant role.”

Although Delahanty remained tight-lipped about specifics, some information has been revealed in court documents.

Affidavits filed in the arrests of three of the suspects on Friday revealed that officials monitored text messages between members of a trafficking operations group, recorded phone calls and used confidential informants or cooperating defendants to gather evidence.

The affidavits indicate that the bulk of the investigation was conducted largely in late November and early December.

According to one affidavit, an FBI agent said he saw a text message in late November from one individual in which the person appeared to offer to trade a gun with a 33-round magazine to one suspect, Tasheem Carter, in exchange for drugs. A gun with a large-capacity magazine was later seized by federal agents when they interrupted a planned meeting, an affidavit said.

Delahanty said the 24 arrests reminded him of a case he was involved in more than 40 years ago, when he was a part-time prosecutor in the Androscoggin County District Attorney’s Office.

That investigation led to 32 arrests and was the biggest of its time, he said.

But the drugs were different then – mostly marijuana and LSD – which Delahanty said were not nearly as destructive as contemporary drugs, especially heroin, which has experienced a resurgence in recent years.

Delahanty also said it’s much more common for guns and violence to be involved in drug trafficking today. In the recent case, some guns were seized.

Lt. Walter Grzyb of the Maine State Police, whose agency was one of several that worked on the investigation, said the drug bust is about more than just getting dealers off the streets.

“Drugs and drug trafficking is the route to almost every crime we investigate. It impacts burglaries, robberies, violent crimes that we see, impaired driving. This isn’t just about the drugs,” he said.

Andrew Robinson, district attorney for Androscoggin County, said he hopes the public is paying attention to the latest case.

“I don’t give advice to criminals very often, but I will tell them this: You would be a fool to sell drugs in this community,” he said.

These people face state charges in connection with the investigation. Their names had not been announced previously.

• Ahmed S. Mohamed, 19, of Lewiston, aggravated trafficking of a scheduled drug.

• Larry Tower, 52, of Lewiston, unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs and unlawful possession of a scheduled drug.

• Debra Jean Hrbacek, 48, of Lewiston, unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs and unlawful possession of scheduled drug.

• Hassan Shamarr Miller, 20, of Lewiston, unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs.

• David A. Cole, 27, of Lewiston, unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs and conspiracy to commit unlawful trafficking of a scheduled drug.

• Nichole J. Doyle, 30, of Lewiston, unlawful trafficking of scheduled drugs.

• Hector Cedeno, 20, of Lewiston, unlawful trafficking of scheduled drugs.

• Breanna Lee, 23, of Lewiston, unlawful possession of a scheduled drug.

• April Lynn Collins, 33, of Auburn, unlawful possession of a scheduled drug.

• Anthony Leonard, 45, of Lewiston, unlawful trafficking of scheduled drugs.

These people were arrested Friday on federal charges:

• Tasheem Carter, 29, of Far Rockaway, New York, and Lewiston, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and oxycodone.

• Christian Dent, 31, of Far Rockaway, New York, and Lewiston, conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

• Sabree Branch, 23, of Philadelphia and Lewiston, use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, possession of cocaine base, and unlawful use of a communication facility.

• Michael Boney, 28, of Far Rockaway, New York, and Auburn, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base.

• Isar Coleman, 31, of Lewiston, conspiracy to distribute cocaine base.

• Angela Crabtree, 32, of Auburn, possession with intent to distribute cocaine base.

• Katelynn Dubois, 21, of Wales, conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.

• Lee Eirby, 66, of Lewiston, maintaining a drug-involved premises.

• Isaac Fofie, 26, of New Sharon, conspiracy to distribute heroin and distribution of heroin.

• Kourtney Francoeur, 21, of Lewiston, conspiracy to distribute cocaine base.

• Jamel Hamilton, of Far Rockaway, New York, conspiracy to distribute heroin.

• Willie Jackson, 32, of Lewiston, possession with intent to distribute cocaine base.

• Rebecca Thompson, 33, of Lewiston, conspiracy to distribute cocaine base.

• Barney Whitfield, 33, of Lewiston, possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and heroin.