Drug agents seized more than 2 pounds of fentanyl powder and pills Wednesday from the apartment of a 21-year-old Portland man who is now charged with aggravated drug trafficking, police said.

Hunter York Photo courtesy of Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office

Police arrested Hunter S. York, 21, of Dartmouth Street following a traffic stop on Forest Avenue after 1 a.m. Wednesday. Police say they then searched at 115 Dartmouth St., where York was living, and found more than 2 pounds of fentanyl powder and tablets. The home is in the heart Portland’s Oakdale neighborhood, a quiet residential area of multifamily homes not far from the University of Southern Maine campus.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is far more potent than heroin and is the cause of most fatal overdoses in Maine. Police said the seizure Wednesday will have a “significant impact” on the drug’s distribution from Portland to Saco.

Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Cmdr. Scott Pelletier said the traffic stop occurred after investigators with the agency learned that York might be leaving his home and would possess drugs. Pelletier said agents had heard York’s name in recent weeks during other investigations, and focus on the Portland man intensified this weekend.

“Along with the drugs and the other evidence, we had all sorts of evidence of repackaging and mixing and distribution,” Pelletier said. “Without question, he was a retail distributor here in the state of Maine.”

The seizure is significant, but it is not the only recent large bust, Pelletier said. In December, police in Aroostook County charged three Rhode Island men with distribution of more than 2.7 pounds of fentanyl, the MDEA said.

In all of 2018, the latest year for which data is available, police seized a total of 2.64 pounds of fentanyl in Maine.

MDEA estimated the drugs found in York’s apartment have a retail street value of $140,000. In southern Maine, fentanyl sells for at least $140 per gram, which is a typical quantity that users purchase, Pelletier said.

When police searched York’s 2003 Ford Mustang, they also found a revolver and an AR-style rifle, and say York had an undisclosed amount of suspected fentanyl with him. The quantity of drugs and the presence of firearms elevated the criminal charge, Pelletier said.

Also seized were more than 125 capsules suspected to be ecstasy, along with about $15,000 in cash and two additional guns that were being stored with the fentanyl. Police say one of the guns is believed to be stolen from Saco last year.

York was being held at the Cumberland County Jail on $100,000 bail, and is expected to make his first court appearance Friday. He has no criminal record in Maine, according to the State Bureau of Identification.

Fentanyl is manufactured outside Maine and investigators are working with federal authorities to identify the supplier. Pelletier said more arrests could occur as police search for York’s out-of-state supplier and other people who were involved in the alleged distribution of drugs with York.

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