Multi-agency drug bust yields two dozen arrests



ELLSWORTH — Law enforcement on May 2 arrested more than two dozen suspects, seizing firearms and large quantities of crack and Fentanyl as part of a multi-agency investigation into the drug trade from New York City to Washington and Hancock counties.

United States Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced Friday that the following individuals had been arrested Thursday and charged by criminal complaint in U.S. District Court with the following offenses:

Robert McKenna, 48, of Indian Township, distributing crack; Renita Honea, 57, of Jonesport, distributing crack and heroin and maintaining a drug-involved premises; Chandra Hanscom, 44, of Cutler, distributing heroin; Barry McCarthy, 43, of Columbia, maintaining a drug-involved premises.

Also, Cody Look, 30, of Cutler, possession with intent to distribute crack; William Smeal, 32, of Hancock, possession with intent to distribute Fentanyl; Ralph Sawtelle, 27, of Lubec, maintaining a drug-involved premises; Vestin Drisko, 40, of Beals Island, distributing crack and heroin and maintaining a drug-involved premises.

Also, Cinque Grasette, 42, of New York, N.Y., distributing crack and heroin; Mujahedeen Hasan, 28, of Bronx, N.Y., distributing crack; Miquel Angel Franco, 22, of Bronx, possession with intent to distribute cocaine; Milo Danell Germany, 21, of Bronx, possession with intent to distribute cocaine; Julian Lloyd, 24, of Bronx, possession with intent to distribute Fentanyl; Jordy Collado, 18, of New York, N.Y., possession with intent to distribute crack.

Kevin Leroy Barner, 53, of Bronx also was arrested Thursday, having been charged by indictment on March 28 with possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of crack.

Christopher Cruz, 30, and Christopher Martinez, 29, both of the Bronx, were charged on Friday by criminal complaint in U.S. District Court with possession with intent to distribute cocaine base. Timothy Cates, 40, of Cutler was charged Friday by criminal complaint in U.S. District Court with maintaining a drug-involved premises.

According to the complaints and indictment, the charges arose from an investigation into the acquisition of crack, cocaine, heroin and Fentanyl in New York City and its distribution in Washington and Hancock counties. As a result of the investigation, seven search warrants were executed Thursday. Police seized several firearms, including a sawed-off shotgun, and large quantities of crack and Fentanyl.

If convicted, Barner faces between five and 40 years in prison and up to a $5-million fine. The other defendants charged with drug trafficking face up to 20 years in prison and a $1-million fine. Defendants charged with maintaining a drug-involved premises face up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine if convicted.

On Friday, state police spokesman Steve McCausland said 30 Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force agents had joined the coordinated law enforcement effort Thursday. The following individuals were arrested with violations of state law:

William Gatcomb, 49, Sullivan, aggravated trafficking cocaine base; Rachel Dwyer, 46, Sullivan, unlawful trafficking cocaine base; Jessica Dana, 36, Indian Township, unlawful trafficking cocaine base; Amber Douglas, 24, Lubec, unlawful trafficking heroin.

Wayne Dube, 43, Jonesport, aggravated trafficking cocaine base; John Moholland, 50, Princeton, aggravated trafficking cocaine base; Craig Price, 29, New York, N.Y., unlawful trafficking heroin/cocaine base and Timothy Cates, 40, Cutler, unlawful possession Fentanyl.

The investigation is being conducted by the MDEA, Maine State Police, FBI, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; U.S. Border Patrol; U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Marshals Service; and Maine Marine Patrol.

According to the Department of Justice, the prosecution is a result of ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

The task force’s mission is to identify, investigate, and prosecute high-level members of drug trafficking enterprises, bringing together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement.

Cyndi Wood

Cyndi Wood

Managing Editor
Cyndi is managing editor of The Ellsworth American. The Ellsworth native joined the staff of The American in 2007 as a reporter.

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