Ten people were arrested yesterday in Augusta when authorities broke up a drug distribution ring they say was run by a dangerous out-of-state gang.
Augusta Police and Maine Drug Enforcement Agents raided a house on Penley Street in Augusta and seized around 45 grams of heroin and 5 grams of what they believe is methamphetamine. Police say the heroin has a street value of around $10,000.
Two Augusta men were among those arrested in the sting. Peter Gleason, 32, who lived at the house was charged with drug trafficking. Ryan Minoty, 21, also from Augusta was charged with drug possession.
Charged with Class A Aggravated Trafficking in Schedule W Drugs (Heroin) and Class B Conspiracy to Traffic in Schedule W Drugs (Heroin) are:
· Ricquell Lindo (male), 20, of Stroudsburg, PA
· Tyshawn Mack (male), 21, of Stroudsburg, PA
· Nathaniel Taylor, 19, of Stroudsburg, PA
· Tyrone Wilkins, 23, of Stroudsburg, PA
· Darvent Cummings, 22, of Stroudsburg, PA
· Kenya Evans (female), 20, of Stroudsburg, PA
· Shaquanna Khaleelah (female), 18, of Mt. Pocono, PA
· A 17 year old female was also charged with the above offenses
These charges were aggravated due to the amount of heroin that was seized.
Authorities say most of those arrested are part of a violent out-of-state gang known as the “Almighty Black P. Stones” based out of Chicago. Commander Peter Arno with the MDEA says arrests like these are proof that some of the organized drug trafficking rings are infiltrating the state.
“The typical case is that they’ll recruit somebody locally to sort of be their point of contact. As far as the drug trade is involved, they’ll move into a community and begin trafficking narcotics,” Arno said.
Local police in central Maine said these gangs are moving into Maine because they don’t have to deal with the territorial issues they’re likely to find in bigger cities. They’re also able to sell the drugs for much higher prices in Maine. Arno says the typical bag of heroin sold in the bigger cities like Boston for $10 can be sold here in Maine for roughly $40.
“It adds a whole new dimension to what’s going on,” Arno said of these gangs migrating to Maine. “Not only the availability of some of these hard street drugs like crack cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. But also the hardened criminals that come along with it. A lot of them have violent histories.”
Arno says the best way to deter this type of activity in Maine is through the judicial system and imposing harsh sentences.
“We need to send a message that we’re not going to tolerate it. They need not come to Maine.”