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State Drug Agents Making Record Number of Drug Arrests
November 4, 2015
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, November 04, 2015
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531
AUGUSTA – After an alarming increase of drug-related arrests during the past week, including a major bust in the Capitol City, Governor Paul R. LePage is praising the work of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency (MDEA) saying their work is critical to curbing the pandemic plaguing the State.
MDEA agents have made twenty heroin related arrests since Monday, October 26, and agents and the State Medical Examiner’s Office report nine suspected heroin overdose deaths in the same period.
“I commend MDEA and local law enforcement for getting these drugs off our streets,” said Governor LePage. “The work they are doing is critical to curbing a pandemic we have on our hands—a pandemic that lawmakers are ignoring. One of the biggest drug busts we have seen in years occurred just this week in Augusta at the Senator Inn where many legislators stay during session. Seven people were arrested after drug agents seized lethal amounts of crack and heroin, all of which would have gone out on our streets. But legislators still refuse to give our law enforcement agencies the manpower they need.”
For years, Governor LePage has championed legislation to provide the MDEA with adequate resources to deal with Maine’s exploding drug issue. In 2014, he proposed a bill to provide the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency with 14 agent positions; add 4 new special drug prosecutors; and add 4 new judges to sit in enhanced drug courts. In 2015, legislators watered down the bill adding just 4 drug agents, 2 new prosecutors and 2 new judges.
“Five of the seven people arrested this week are from Augusta and New York City,” said Governor LePage. “This further illustrates the infiltration of out-of-state drug dealers coming into Maine. Our agents are doing everything they can to stop the dealers, but they need more help.”
Maine’s top drug agent says the rise in drug trafficking is causing an increased threat to public safety and health. “The Maine Chiefs of Police and the Maine Sheriffs have made it clear that local law enforcement officials desperately need more resources to fight the drug problem in our State,” said Roy McKinney, director of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.
Governor LePage has noted he will use executive authority to call upon assistance from the National Guard if the Legislature won’t make additional resources available to stop the flow of deadly drugs into Maine. The Governor has expressed interest in activating up to a dozen National Guard members who would support MDEA efforts.
“I am deeply concerned that we have people dying daily from suspected heroin overdoses and we continue to have out-of-state drug dealers entering our state. Repeatedly I have requested the Legislature to help, but they refuse to fully support the needs of the MDEA. If lawmakers won’t step up, then I will have no choice other than to ask the National Guard to help.”