AUBURN — Operation Hot Spots strikes again.
Maine Drug Enforcement agents and others Wednesday morning arrested a man and two women on cocaine charges after their car was stopped getting off the Maine Turnpike at the Auburn exit.
Drug officials said the three were returning from Connecticut with a shipment of cocaine, destined to be sold in Lewiston-Auburn. Seized were 72 grams (2½ ounces) of crack cocaine with a street value of $7,500.
Charged with aggravated trafficking in cocaine were Amanda Beth Rodriguez, 27, of Auburn; Margoliz Julie Velázquez of Hartford, Conn.; and Markevin Faucette, 39, of Lewiston.
Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Supervisor Matthew Cashman said police and drug agents had been watching for the group based on information gleaned through Lewiston-based Operation Hot Spots, a police effort formed last spring.
The three are being held at the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn in lieu of $75,000 bail each. They are likely to make their first court appearance in Auburn on Friday, Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said.
The car the three were in was stopped just after midnight, police said. Some of the cocaine was found hidden in a body cavity of one of the women. Police described the method of concealing drugs as increasingly popular with drug traffickers.
Agents also searched Rodriguez's apartment at 20 Beckett St. in Auburn, where additional drug-related items were seized. Faucette resides at 197 Bartlett St. in Lewiston. Working with MDEA and Auburn police in this investigation were Lewiston police and the Violent Crimes Task Force from the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives office in Maine.
The four agencies have been working for several months investigating drug trafficking and violence in Lewiston-Auburn.