On Sept. 21, Orono Police officers made a major drug bust at a local apartment. The officers seized LSD, psychedelic mushrooms, over 300 Xanax pills, $4,600 and other illegally obtained prescription drugs.
Two individuals aged 19 and 20 were charged with seven counts of aggravated trafficking of drugs, the most serious class A felony involving schedule W narcotics. Aggravated trafficking of a schedule W drug is a class A crime, for which the prison term can last up to 30 years.
“They’re facing a significant amount of prison time… a good part of their adult life,” Orono Police Chief Josh Ewing said.
The Orono Police department made the arrests public by posting a photo on Facebook of the evidence confiscated.
“We show you this to remind you we are taking an active stance against drug dealing within our community,” the post reads.
Sargent Cameron Barrieau obtained a search warrant after arrests made over the past few weeks led to information about the apartment in question. Officers made the first arrest for OUI after an individual rear-ended another car. Officers made another OUI arrest after two people reported a reckless driver. The final piece of evidence came when an overdose victim was found to have been under the influence of the same drug as the OUI arrestees.
“It was over like a three-week period those three incidents led us to believe that there was drug sales or dealing being done from that apartment,” Ewing said.
All three of the individuals were under the influence of drugs that were believed to be from that apartment, and at least one of the individuals was associated with the apartment in some way.
The officers typed up a report on the evidence they had, and Barrieau obtained the warrant the same evening of the arrests.
The charges against the residents of the apartment were elevated to aggravated trafficking of drugs due to the possession of firearms and the proximity of the apartment to a daycare. The individuals charged owned the guns legally, but legal firearms still constitute an elevated charge.
“When there is a belief that there’s a charge of drug trafficking firearms enhance that, enhances the level of crime so it bumps it up another level to a felony or a higher felony… you’re almost using the gun to further the sale of drugs,” Ewing said.
Ewing stressed that this was larger than an average drug bust for the area and that Orono is generally very safe. He also expressed his hopes that people will come forward with information in the future in the name of public safety.
“People may think that it’s harmless, people may think that its personal use, but there was clear risk and it’s not harmless…. people tend to view it as ratting someone out, when what could you be stopping? You don’t have any idea of the far-reaching effects of if you actually step up and do the right thing,” Ewing said.