On Thursday May 22, at least 12 individuals were arrested following arrest raids conducted by more than 60 law enforcement officers in Auburn and Lewiston. According to the Portland Press Herald, a federal investigation had been ongoing for several months as authorities worked to uncover those involved in the trafficking of cocaine, oxycodone, and heroin in Androscoggin County. Portland U.S. District Court records indicate that authorities expected to make additional arrests in the coming days.
Several agencies worked together in conducting the arrest raids including the FBI, the U.S. DEA, Lewiston and Auburn police departments, Maine State Police and DEA, federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In the course of the arrests, authorities also seized firearms, drugs, and at least one vehicle according to Lewiston Police Chief Michael Bussiere.
On May 20, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a nine-count indictment that led to authorities securing arrest warrants for 16 people. On the morning of May 22, law enforcement authorities began bringing those who had been arrested to courtrooms to face the judges on charges which range from unlawful use of a communication facility to felony drug trafficking conspiracy. Punishment for the drug offenses range from four years in prison to fines of as much as $5 million and 40 years in prison, according to the article.
Romelly “Marcus” Dastinot, a 33-year-old Lewiston resident, was the lead name on the indictment. He was arrested on charges of possession with intent to distribute oxycodone related to a March 22 incident, and conspiracy to traffic more than 100 grams of heroin, 28 or more grams of cocaine, and oxycodone in connection with offenses ranging over a time period beginning in early 2012 and continuing through May of this year. Others arrested in the raid range in age from 22 to 52.
All crimes involving illegal drugs or narcotics are serious, whether an individual is accused of being in possession of an illicit substance, manufacturing the drug, or distributing/delivering it. Naturally, someone who is found to be trafficking drugs will face punishment that is more severe than someone who possesses a small amount of marijuana or meth; however, the consequences can affect you for life. An arrest and conviction will leave you with a criminal record, and possibly a ruined reputation and career.
In Michigan, those accused of possessing drugs are often charged with distributing or delivering drugs when a large amount is involved. This means harsher criminal penalties if convicted. In addition, delivering or distributing illegal narcotic drugs may leave the accused person facing up to life behind bars along with millions of dollars in fines depending on the type and quantity of drug involved. Individuals who are convicted of possession of ecstasy, cocaine, and other substances in amounts as small as 25 grams may be sentenced to four years in prison and face fines of as much as $25,000.
Anyone who is under investigation for drug possession or distribution or who has been arrested should make it a top priority to consult with a skilled and aggressive Michigan drug crime defense lawyer.