2017-01-31 / Front Page

‘Undoubtedly, we saved lives’

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Sanford heroin haul largest ever in Maine
Senior Staff Writer

SANFORD — The largest heroin seizure in Maine’s history began with one nugget of information.

It eventually led to the seizure of 3.88 pounds of heroin in Sanford and another 4.22 pounds in Massachusetts — enough, said Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Director  Roy McKinney, to provide 35,000 doses. The two seizures together are valued at $1.8 million.

For now, two people are in jail, unable to make bail and awaiting trial. McKinney on Monday said more arrests are expected.

McKinney declined to provide specific details of the investigation that led to the arrests of Jason Bolduc, 39, of Parsonsfield and Nichole Farrar, 35, of Sanford, on Nowell Street in Sanford Jan. 13.  As well, affidavits connected to the case have been impounded by a judge. But McKinney said MDEA’s focus is on disrupting the drug market and on drug traffickers.

“We rely on information from the public and other law enforcement,” said McKinney. “This was information and assistance from other law enforcement. It all began with a piece of information that led to Bolduc, and built from there.”

Drug agents from the York District Task Force had their eye on Bolduc for about four months before they closed in on Jan.13, said Maine Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland. They  suspected he was selling the drug throughout southern Maine from his home at 27 Franks Place in Parsonsfield, a few hundred feet from Route 153 and the New Hampshire border.

A team of state and federal drug agents and Maine State Police stopped a rental vehicle Bolduc was in that day. Seized from the rental vehicle and from Bolduc’s personal vehicle — which authorities said was parked nearby — was 3.88 pounds of heroin and $2,473.

McCausland said investigators then tracked down a storage unit Bolduc had rented in Wakefield, New Hampshire, which contained $177,881 in cash, several handguns and ledger books detailing alleged past drug sales. The Carroll County (New Hampshire) Sheriff’s Office and Wakefield (New Hampshire) Police assisted in the seizure at the storage unit. In all $180,354 in cash was seized.

Agents also seized equipment and a number of vehicles from Bolduc’s rented home in Parsonsfield, which police believe were purchased with proceeds he made from selling the illegal drugs, McCausland said. Among items seized from the house were a 2012 Ford pickup, 2009 Dodge Challenger, 2006 Dodge Charger, 2016 New Holland tractor, two Polaris ATVs, a car hauler and a dump trailer. The estimated value of the vehicles and equipment is more than $100,000.

Bolduc and Farrar were taken into custody by state and federal drug agents with assistance from Sanford Police and York County Sheriff’s Office. They were charged with trafficking in heroin/fentanyl, a Class W drug. They remain at York County Jail, each held in lieu of $250,000 cash bail.

As part of the investigation, MDEA agents assisted U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Agents Friday in an operation that led to the seizure of 4.4 pounds of heroin/fentanyl in an undisclosed municipality in Massachusetts. They say the drugs were destined for Maine.

“A number of suspects have been identified and the investigation is continuing with additional arrests expected,” McCausland said.

“The arrests and seizure have likely saved a number of lives from drug overdoses in both Maine and New Hampshire from this poison,” said Maine Public Safety Commissioner John Morris. He also credited the increase in the number of drug agents in the past two years, which gave the agency the additional resources to investigate this extensive case.  Fourteen new agents were assigned to MDEA in early 2016.

The commissioner said this is the second large heroin/fentanyl case MDEA has disrupted in the past year. In July, more than  two pounds of the drug was seized in Scarborough that was destined for Aroostook County, which was the largest seizure in Maine at that time.

“We’re obviously very pleased at the amount of drugs that have been removed form distribution, and  and overall how that disrupts the drug market,” said MDEA Director McKinney. He said he hopes the drug seizure will add to prevention by those who might have otherwise been initiated into taking the drug, and give those with substance abuse disorders incentive for treatment.

“Undoubtedly we saved lives,” with the seizure, said McKinney.

“That’s a huge amount of heroin,” said Sanford Police Chief Thomas Connolly. “It's a tremendous  seizure, it's a wonderful arrest.”

Connolly said the seizure of the drugs will impact the local heroin market for a period of time. He stressed the need for prevention and  treatment — because, he pointed out, as long as there is demand, someone will fill the void. Nevertheless, the seizure was a very welcome victory.

“It's great work to get that much dope off the street,” Connolly said.

While the total number of drug deaths for 2016 is not yet available, Maine Attorney General Janet T.  Mills  in a November report said there were 286 deaths from all drugs through the end of September, up from 174 for the same period in 2015.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or twells@journaltribune.com.

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