The lengthy standoff at a South Portland apartment complex Friday night occurred after authorities served a federal search warrant at an apartment there, according to a Maine drug enforcement official.

One man was arrested after officers from several law enforcement agencies, including South Portland police, helped with the execution of the search warrant on Route 1 in the city’s Thornton Heights neighborhood.

Scott Pelletier, Division 1 commander for the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, said Sunday night that the arrest came as the result of a warrant obtained by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service.

Pelletier said because the operation was instigated by the federal agency, he would be unable to comment further on the nature of the warrant or the suspect, but he did confirm that one man was arrested.

“The guy had a drug history, which is why we were asked to provide manpower support,” Pelletier said.

An email and telephone call to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service seeking additional information Sunday evening were not returned.

Initial reports said that a person was barricaded Friday evening in an apartment at the Kings Wood apartment complex at 757 Main St., across the street from the Best Western Merry Manor Inn. Main Street in that section of the city is also known as Route 1.

The confrontation with police began around 4:30 p.m. and resulted in a 2½-hour standoff after the Southern Maine Regional SWAT team executed the “high-risk” search warrant. Police evacuated all of the residents in the four-story apartment building.

Capt. Robb Couture of the South Portland Fire Department, who was at the scene, said two people were detained as a result of the search, but one person remained inside one of the apartments, leading to the standoff. Police asked firefighters to set up a staging operation in the parking lot of the hotel because of concerns that the apartment might contain hazardous chemicals. Authorities did not find any chemicals, and Pelletier said the location was not being used as a meth lab.

South Portland police Lt. Thomas Simonds said Sunday night that he would be unable to comment further on the incident because the investigation is being handled by federal authorities.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]


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