RUMFORD — Authorities say they've cracked a heroin ring that delivered up to 4,700 bags of heroin per week to the River Valley.
More than 450 doses were seized in drug operations in Bethel on Wednesday and in Rumford on Monday, said Tony Milligan, deputy supervisor and special agent of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.
"In my 16 years at Rumford PD, we've intermittently come across heroin in drug investigations we've done, but not anywhere near in this quantity," Rumford police Capt. Daniel Garbarini said.
The estimated street value of the seized heroin was about $12,000, Milligan said Thursday.
"With what was seized, multiply that by five or 10 times and that's what our investigation is telling us is coming into the River Valley area on a weekly basis," Milligan said.
Three people were arrested in the six-month investigation; more arrests are expected as it continues, he said.
Arrested on felony drug charges were Sarah L. Bosworth, 29, and her boyfriend, Corey Lerice Edingbourgh, 30, both of 125 Main St., third-floor apartment in Mexico, and Daniel Wayne Richard, 26, of 154 Essex Ave. in Rumford.
Bosworth and Edingbourgh, who are charged with aggravated heroin trafficking, remained behind bars Thursday, unable to make bail of $20,000 each. They will be arraigned Friday in Oxford County Superior Court in Paris.
Richard, who was charged Tuesday with two counts of aggravated oxycodone trafficking — both within a school or safe zone — and unlawful trafficking in heroin in Rumford, was released on $20,000 cash bail Wednesday at his arraignment, Milligan said.
He said Bosworth and Edingbourgh were caught early Wednesday evening during a simultaneous stop-and-search of their car in Bethel and their apartment in Mexico.
The authorities had learned that Bosworth and Edingbourgh were planning to deliver a "sizable quantity" of heroin to a customer in Bethel, Milligan said.
Police set up surveillance and Oxford County deputies intercepted the pair as they drove west on Route 2 in Bethel, he said.
Bosworth, he said, was driving a 2003 Subaru Legacy station wagon, with Edingbourgh and their 7-month-old son as passengers.
Drug enforcement agents armed with a stop-and-search warrant found and seized 50 bags of heroin, Milligan said.
At their apartment, MDEA agents and Rumford and Mexico police used a battering ram to enter with a no-knock search warrant, fearing officer safety, he said.
They found and seized 340 bags of heroin, a small quantity of packaged marijuana, $500 in suspected drug proceeds and other related evidence, he said.
Milligan said the couple's child was taken into protective custody and through the Maine Department of Health and Human Services' Child Protection Service, was placed in emergency care with relatives.
On Monday, a search warrant was served at the home of Daniel Wayne Richard, 26, in the second-floor apartment at 156 Essex Ave. in Rumford, Milligan said.
Police seized 80 bags of heroin, two bags of marijuana, digital drug scales and other related evidence, he said.
"When Rumford police and the MDEA heard there was heroin in the River Valley area, we made a commitment to bring resources into the region and focus intensely on that (heroin ring) to shut it down as quickly as possible," Milligan said.
Milligan said the heroin is coming into the River Valley from outside Maine, but he declined to indicate a location or to reveal more about the investigation.