WATERVILLE — Fentanyl and cocaine with an estimated street value of $780,000 was seized from an apartment on College Avenue in the largest discovery of illegal narcotics in the city’s history, police Chief Joseph Massey said Wednesday.

Authorities arrested Victor Nicolas Soto Sanchez, 37, and charged him with two Class A felony counts of aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs — one count for the fentanyl and the other for the cocaine — as well as two counts of being a fugitive from justice, for outstanding warrants from two other states. He’s from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and was found to be in the country illegally, Massey said.

Victor Nicolas Soto Sanchez, a Dominican Republic national, was arrested Tuesday on several charges after Waterville police confiscated $780,000 worth of fentanyl and cocaine in what authorities say is the largest narcotics seizure in the city’s history. Photo courtesy of Waterville police

The chief said about 6 pounds of fentanyl and 5 pounds of cocaine were found, describing it as “a very significant drug bust.”

The seizure occurred as a result of a three-week investigation that started after Detective Duane Cloutier received information that a person living at 185 College Ave. was selling fentanyl and cocaine, according to Massey. Cloutier got a search warrant for an apartment in the building that was rented by Jasmine Dostie, and Cloutier had learned that another person was staying there with her, Massey said.

Officers went to the apartment about 9 a.m. Tuesday to search it and when they arrived they noticed that a man, later identified as Soto Sanchez, was leaving in a 2015 BMW sedan, he said. He was detained and officers searched the apartment and found the drugs, as well as four handguns, two shotguns and $6,000 in cash, he said.

Dostie, 23, was charged with two counts of aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs, he said.

Soto Sanchez gave police a fictitious name but was identified after he was taken into custody and his fingerprints were sent to the FBI.

The U.S. Border Patrol found that he entered the country in 2014, Massey said, and it was later determined that he had two outstanding warrants — one from New Jersey in 2020 for burglary and assault, and the other from Massachusetts in 2014 for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

Waterville police were assisted Tuesday by Maine State Police and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, and worked with the Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office to draft a search warrant, according to Massey.

He said Soto Sanchez was being held at the Kennebec County Jail where bail was set at $250,000 cash for the two counts of aggravated trafficking, but he wouldn’t be able to bond out even if he raised the money because of the two outstanding warrants and the federal claim that he entered the country illegally.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 28 in Kennebec County Superior Court, according to Massey, who said the District Attorney’s Office is working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to determine if Soto Sanchez will be prosecuted by federal officials.

“They’ll make that decision at some point,” he said.

Massey noted that the drug bust follows one police conducted on Nov. 23 during a traffic stop on upper Main Street in which fentanyl and cocaine with a street value of more than $100,000 were seized. The opioid crisis continues across the country and locally, he said.

“It’s here,” he said of the crisis, “and these are source-level dealers we’re really putting our investigative resources into. These are people we really need to take off the street because they are dealing the quantities.”

Massey said that on Nov. 30 he sat down with the U.S. attorney for the District of Maine, Darcie McElwee, and they discussed the impact opioids are having on the region. Massey said she asked him what he sees as the most pressing concern in Waterville.

“I said, ‘Drugs, drugs and more drugs,'” he said. “There is an influx of drugs, not only into the state and country — we are fighting that on the local level every single day.”

The apartment building at 185 College Ave. where the search took place is across the street from the former Marden’s Surplus & Salvage store that now is a moving and storage business.

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