Local Cocaine Trafficking Ring Arrested
Seven people were arrested last month in connection with a local drug trafficking ring that has allegedly sold more than 100 grams of cocaine, which has a street value of at least $10,000. Waterville Police suspect that the Bob-In, a bar on Temple Street, served as the cocaine-ring's home base.
Michael Pedini, the alleged ringleader, as well as Jamie Barker, Laurie Labonte, Kelly Eno, Jason Lombardo, Luke Adams and Rose Varney were apprehended over Thanksgiving recess. They are charged with various counts of Class A felony Aggravated Trafficking in Schedule W Drugs [cocaine], Class B felony Conspiracy to Traffic in Schedule W Drugs and Class C felony Possession of Schedule W Drugs.
If convicted, those accused of Class A crimes will face up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $50,000, while Class B crimes carry a punishment of up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $20,000.
"Class A felony is the most serious criminal classification in the state of Maine except for murder," Charles Rumsey, Waterville deputy police chief, said in a press release. "So these are very serious crimes, potentially punishable by lengthy prison sentences, and they're serious charges as befits the serious nature of the offenses and the time and effort that went into preparing this case for prosecution."
The arrests were a result of a four-month long joint investigation by the Waterville Police Department, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency (MDEA), the Maine State Police, the Maine Computer Crimes Task Force and the Madison Police Department.
"Without question, there are two reasons this investigation has become so successful, and those reasons are the skills brought to bear by the investigators...and the high level of cooperation between our two agencies," Joseph Massey, Waterville police chief, said.
"Our officers have worked closely with MDEA's agents over the past months and this close working relationship has again resulted in the successful disruption of a large-scale drug trafficking operation."
This drug bust is the largest in Waterville's recent memory. "I personally cannot remember such a large seizure of cocaine in the central Maine area, going back to 1989 when we arrested an individual from Alaska in a local motel that had a kilo of cocaine," Massey said.
Members of the community were shocked to hear of the accused leader Pedini's involvement in the recent drug ring. He was active in the nearby town of Athens as a former volunteer firefighter and a basketball coach at the elementary school.
"I knew the guy and I always thought he was a wonderful person," Jamie Stafford, Athens' fire chief, said in a press release. "When he lived in Athens, he'd do anything for anybody. I don't believe for a minute when he lived around Athens that he was into any of that. Even now, I have a hard time believing he was doing anything."
Pedini was charged with four counts of aggravated trafficking in cocaine and one count of conspiracy to traffic cocaine. He is a member of the Outlaws motorcycle gang and has a previous criminal record, with prior charges of assault and kidnapping in Massachusetts.
Waterville authorities said that their investigation is ongoing. Police are still looking over a lot of paperwork, records and electronic storage media that was seized after four separate search and seizures at the suspects' homes.
"There's a network of people that have been selling quantities of cocaine in the Waterville area," Kennebec County District Attorney Evert Fowle said in a press release. "I would expect there will be more arrests in the days ahead."
Bob-In, the bar where the illegal activity was allegedly taking place, was also searched. Gibryne "Gubby" Karter, the owner of the bar, has not been charged in this case. Karter did receive two minor summonses for administrative liquor law violations that were observed while searching the Bob-In.
All seven members of the ring are expected to appear in court in January.