PARIS — Police say a Gilead man with an “extensive” multi-state felony criminal record has confessed to teaching his family members, friends and others to cook methamphetamine.
David Lee Thompson, 52, was one of eight people arrested Friday when law enforcement agents executed search warrants on homes in Gilead, Greenwood and Oxford along with Albany and Mason townships, in a coordinated operation.
Other suspects nabbed in the sweep were Mico Thompson, 31, of Gilead; Rodney Levesque, 35, of Oxford; Scott Hart, 36, of Albany Township; Amanda Thompson, 28, of Albany Township; Joshua Spencer, 28, of Greenwood; Heidi Owens, 24, of Greenwood; and Jole Mills, 38, of Mason Township.
According to an affidavit by Maine Drug Enforcement Agency agent Tony Milligan, Thompson confessed to being the group’s leader and the person primarily responsible for manufacturing most of the drug, a highly addictive stimulant.
Thompson is also responsible for teaching his children, Mico and Amanda Thompson, Levesque and Hart how to manufacture meth and recently moved to Maine to live with Mico, according to Milligan. He has felony drug charges pending in other out-of-state jurisdictions, Milligan said.
MDEA Supervisor Matt Cashman said methamphetamine production sometimes grows when an experienced producer teaches other people how to cook the drug, creating a “multiplier effect” as the trend catches on.
“One person teaches two people, those two people teach four people, and so on and so on,” Cashman said.
“Fortunately, it looks like we’ve nipped this in the bud before it becomes like a cancer in the Oxford area,” he said.
On Friday, MDEA agents, along with the Maine State Police, Oxford County Sheriff’s Office and Oxford Police Department executed six search warrants, uncovering laboratories in Thompson’s and Mills’ homes and seizing materials and equipment used for producing meth in other homes and a pickup truck owned by Levesque.
The labs were producing small multiple gram batches, a far cry from “superlabs” that can produce kilos of the drug, but still significant for the area, Cashman said. The laboratory discovered in Thompson’s house in Gilead was “very sophisticated” Cashman said.
The search warrants were the culmination of a nearly three-month investigation led by Milligan.
The investigation included controlled purchases of methamphetamine from Levesque and Hart, according to Milligan’s affidavit. Transaction records also implicate Amanda Thompson, Owens, and Spencer in making purchases in Maine and New Hampshire of pseudoephedrine-based products used to produce meth.
Cashman said it was not a surprise that methamphetamine has shown up in Oxford County, taking into account the exponential growth of the drug’s production in Maine. His agency is projecting busting 30-40 meth labs in the state this year, up from five in 2011.
Thompson is charged with aggravated trafficking in an unlawful drug and criminal conspiracy. He is being held on $50,000 cash or $75,000 surety bail.