Police arrested five people on felony drug charges in Oxford on Wednesday after they executed a search warrant at a home connected to the man charged with leading police on a chase through Paris and Oxford in which one person was seriously injured.

Maine State Police said the search warrant was related to the investigation of Ethan Rioux-Poulios, 26, who allegedly fled police in a pickup truck March 4 before he slammed head-on into another vehicle, critically injuring a 28-year-old woman. Rioux-Poulios should have had his license suspended but state courts never sent the necessary paperwork to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles as required, meaning his license was active.

Ethan Rioux-Poulios

Troopers and members of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force went to 11 Long View Drive in Oxford on Wednesday to look for clothing associated with Rioux-Poulios, state police said. Police knew Rioux-Poulios previously had been associated with the address and he was arrested close by following the chase this month. It’s not clear why they needed the clothing, but it may be connected to efforts to prove that Rioux-Poulios was in fact behind the wheel before police arrested him.

When he was taken into custody, Rioux-Poulios denied being the driver and said someone else had been driving, but he wouldn’t say who, the arrest affidavit states.

When officers arrived at the home for the search, two people tried to leave through a back door.

Once inside, police found evidence of an ongoing drug trafficking operation and obtained a second warrant to search the home for drugs, state police said. As officers waited for a judge to review and sign off on the second warrant, the homeowners arrived on the scene.


After police received the second warrant, they searched the residence and vehicles nearby and located 195 grams of suspected fentanyl, 40 grams of suspected cocaine and $4,995 in cash, which they believe to be drug proceeds.

Police say they found evidence that someone in the home was producing crack-cocaine.

Five people were charged with drug trafficking: Oxford residents Matthew Robare, 45, Julie Coolidge, 48, and Kendra Talbot, 42; and Darlene Thomas, 50, of Otisfield and Joshua Appleby, 37, of Woodstock.

Police said Robare and Coolidge own the home. Town property records show Coolidge owns a home at 11 Long View Drive, a residential cul-de-sac.

When police were looking for Rioux-Poulios during the March 4 chase, a state trooper assisting in the search suggested that other officers look for Rioux-Poulios on Long View Drive.

Trooper Jason Wing wrote that Rioux-Poulios had “criminal contacts in the neighborhood,” Wing said in an arrest affidavit.


Rioux-Poulios should have had his license suspended before the March 4 chase, but it never went into effect because of a systemic bureaucratic error in how the courts and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles share information about convictions that should result in suspensions.

Since his arrest, the BMV, the state court system and prosecutors have agreed on a new system to ensure no other driver’s serious criminal conviction related to driving slips by unnoticed. The officials also promised a 10-year review of old cases to correct any other failures.

Rioux-Poulios pleaded guilty last year to killing a man with his car during a 2019 police chase that also resulted in a crash. In that case, a 70-year-old Norway man died after Rioux-Poulios rear ended his vehicle, sending it tumbling sideways into a tree.

Rioux-Poulios is being held at Oxford County Jail on six felony counts related to the March 4 chase.

Police say when they arrested Rioux-Poulios this month, they found a folded piece of aluminum foil in his pants pocket that had a burnt residue on it. Wing noted in the arrest affidavit that the foil is often used to smoke drugs, including opiates.

As part of the guilty plea in the 2019 case, Rioux-Poulios was released on time served and was placed on two years of probation that prohibited him from possessing or using drugs.

During the July 2021 sentencing for the 2019 case, Rioux-Poulios’ attorney said his client has a “serious, serious drug addiction,” the Sun Journal reported.

His attorney, James Howaniec, said last year that when he is high, Rioux-Poulios is “miserable to deal with.” He’s sarcastic and unpleasant. “You just want to wring his neck,” Howaniec said.

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