WATERVILLE — Local law enforcement officials early Friday morning arrested six people involved in trafficking scheduled drugs in the Waterville area, as a result of a four-month investigation, said Deputy Chief Bill Bonney, of the Waterville police.

Detectives seized a total of 1.1 ounces of a fentanyl and heroin mix, 1.1 ounces of crack cocaine and 2.5 grams of heroin from an apartment on Gray Street just after 4:30 a.m, according to Bonney. Chief Joseph Massey said this move is “significant in helping to (ensure) the safety of our city” in a news release Friday afternoon.

“A lethal dose of fentanyl is roughly 2 milligrams,” Bonney said. “So there were roughly 15,400 lethal doses of fentanyl in the 1.1 ounces we seized. We don’t normally put it into that sense, but this is what’s killing people, and I think when you put it that way, I think it’s shocking to many that there’s that much product out there — and it’s really dangerous to the community.”

Officials from six other agencies assisted Waterville with executing search warrants on three residences. The searches happened simultaneously, Bonney said, so that individuals “that we knew were involved” could not flee upon learning of a nearby raid.

“It was a very large operation,” Bonney said. “It was very professionally conducted. It went off very seamlessly, and that’s to the credit of officers from all of the different agencies.”

Fairfield police, Oakland police, Winslow police, the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency contributed.

At 13 Gray St., Apartment 2, where most of the drugs were seized, Bonney wrote in the news release, “officers found several subjects in a room with drugs, including Fentanyl, which it appears was being prepared for re-sale on the streets of Waterville.”

Waterville residents Gloria Pressey, 36, and Martin Fernald, 28, were arrested there, along with Jheremy Sanchez, 30, and William Botex, 27, both of Lawrence, Massachusetts. A third Waterville resident, Angela Hanson, 32, was charged by summons in connection with the operations at the 13 Gray St. apartment.

Charges included:
• for Pressey, class A aggravated trafficking of schedule W drugs (fentanyl), class B criminal conspiracy, two counts of class C unlawful possession of scheduled drugs (heroin and fentanyl) and a class D charge of unlawful possession of scheduled drugs (crack cocaine);
• for Fernald, class A aggravated trafficking of schedule W drugs (fentanyl), class B criminal conspiracy and class E violating conditions of release;
• for Sanchez, class A aggravated trafficking of schedule W drugs, class B unlawful trafficking of a schedule W drug (crack coaine), class B criminal conspiracy and class C unlawful possession of scheduled drugs (crack cocaine);
• and for Botex, class A aggravated trafficking of schedule W drugs, class B unlawful trafficking of schedule W drugs (crack cocaine), class B criminal conspiracy and class C unlawful possession of scheduled drugs (fentanyl).

Hanson was issued a summons on charges of class A aggravated trafficking of schedule W drugs (heroin) and class B unlawful trafficking of scheduled drugs (crack cocaine).

Following a search of 5 Gray Ave., Apartment 1, Christopher Violette, 41, of Waterville, was arrested on two counts of class A aggravated trafficking of schedule W drugs (fentanyl).

At 45 Summer St., Apartment 3, Joshua Bilodeau, 27, of Waterville, was arrested on two counts of class A aggravated trafficking of schedule W drugs (fentanyl), class A aggravated trafficking of schedule W drugs (crack cocaine) and two counts of class E violating conditions of release.

“We arrested everyone we have charges for regarding this raid,” Bonney said, “but that’s not to say there aren’t other people out there (who have) been involved.”

Bonney said the out-of-state people are likely source-level suppliers.

“The general M.O. when we have sources in town is that they find a place — or multiple places — to stay and they will bunk with lower-level dealers, or sometimes users, when they exchange products or things, or they’re working together with these folks in a conspiracy to traffic drugs,” Bonney said.

He added that that there is a “pretty good chance” that buyers extended outside of the Waterville area.

“It’s always hard to tell,” Bonney said.

Waterville detectives identified the individuals and residences connected with the Friday morning arrests with what Bonney called “wide intelligence networks.”

“What happens is when you have a lot of productivity going on in an area, we start getting complaints from the good citizens — a lot of foot traffic and nuisance-type stuff related to drug dealing,” Bonney said. “We take action because it becomes a quality-of-life issue for Waterville residents. Doing sweeps like this really helps to clean that up.”

Pressey, Fernald, Sanchez, Botex, Violette and Bilodeau have court dates of Aug. 12, while Hanson’s court date is July 22. Bonney said the cases will be forwarded to the district attorney’s office next week.

Pressey’s bail is set at $11,000, Sanchez and Botex face $30,000 each and Violette’s is set at $10,000. Fernald and Bilodeau are being held without bail because they violated conditions of release.

In Maine, class A crimes are punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000, class B crimes are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000, class C crimes are punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, class D misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000, and class E misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

 


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