Seven arrested in Washington County drug sweep

CHERRYFIELD The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency has arrested seven people in an ongoing sweep that began Jan. 12, according to MDEA Commander Scott Pelletier. 

“For the past month, MDEA agents initiated an investigation after identifying a New Bedford, Mass.-based drug trafficking network that was trafficking significant quantities of cocaine, cocaine base and heroin/fentanyl for distribution in Hancock and Washington counties,” Pelletier said. “During the investigation agents revealed out-of-state dealers would travel to Maine and recruit local drug distributors to increase their customer base. The out-of-state dealers distributed their drugs from local residences in exchange for money and/or drugs. Agents conducted undercover purchases of illegal drugs from the group.”

The following were arrested: 

  • Kayla Thistlewood, 27, of Baileyville, probation violation.
  • Franz Morris, 57, of New Bedford, Mass., aggravated drug trafficking (cocaine, heroin, fentanyl).
  • Bailey Bryant, 24, of Jonesboro, violating conditions of release.
  • David Seale, 36, of New Bedford, Mass., aggravated drug trafficking (cocaine).
  • Cole Kennedy, 35, of Milbridge, aggravated drug trafficking (heroin/fentanyl).
  • Matthew Small, 42, of Cherryfield, aggravated drug trafficking (cocaine).
  • Jonathan Johnson, 37, of Columbia, aggravated drug trafficking.

On Friday, agents executed search warrants in the towns of Cherryfield, Milbridge and Columbia with help from the Maine State Police Tactical Team and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. 

Those search warrants resulted in the arrests of Small, Seale and Kennedy. Police seized heroin, cocaine and fentanyl.

Agents arrested Johnson on Monday with the help of the Maine State Police and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Agents arrested Thistlewood and Morris after an early morning stop of Thistlewood’s vehicle on Route 182 in Cherryfield, Pelletier said. 

“Thistlewood is currently on federal probation as a result of an August 2020 incident where MDEA agents found her in possession of 263g of fentanyl, 43.1g of cocaine and 41.8 of cocaine base,” the commander said. “Agents determined Thistlewood was in violation of her probation and was arrested on behalf of the United States Probation and Parole Office.”

A Washington County Sheriff’s Office police dog aided officers in finding drugs, including cocaine, cocaine base and fentanyl, which Morris allegedly had in his possession, Pelletier said.

Also arrested during the same investigation was Bryant.

The investigation is ongoing with additional arrests expected.  

The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Homeland Security assisted.

If you have information about this investigation or the illegal sale of drugs in this state, you are urged to contact the MDEA office closest to you or by texting MDEA to TIP411 (847411) or calling the MDEA tip-line at 800-452-6457.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.

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