PORTLAND — An Auburn man was arrested Monday in connection with a Feb. 27 multi-agency, multi-location federal drug bust in Lewiston and Auburn.
Tyler Poland, 31, of Auburn is the third man charged in connection with the bust.
According to a written statement issued by the U.S. Attorney’s office, Poland has been charged with possession of Ecstasy and marijuana with intent to distribute the substances.
According to the complaint, the charges arose from an investigation into a drug trafficking organization in the Lewiston-Auburn area that is alleged to have grown and distributed large quantities of marijuana in violation of federal law and under the cover of, but in violation of, Maine’s Medical Marijuana program.
The organization cultivated marijuana at numerous warehouses in Androscoggin County and distributed marijuana to people who were not participants in Maine’s Medical Marijuana program, including out-of-state customers.
On Feb. 27, federal, state and local law enforcement agents executed more than 20 search warrants in the Lewiston-Auburn area. The defendant’s 249 Merrow Road residence and warehouses were searched, according to court records.
According to city records, the property is owned by Central Maine Landvest, a real estate holding and management company incorporated in September 2015. State records show the company’s principal owner is Clay McLafferty of Fish Street in Turner.
McLafferty said Monday evening that he sold the building to Poland in October or November 2017.
The same month the realty company was incorporated, McLafferty was granted a permit for wiring for a grow facility at the site. The contractor hired to do the work was TY Construction, owned and operated by Tyler Poland.
In September 2017, the city granted a second permit to fix wiring in upstairs grow rooms that the tenant had installed on his own.
On Feb. 27, agents seized about 608 marijuana plants, 366 pounds of processed marijuana, hundreds of Ecstasy pills (weighing more than a kilogram), hundreds of alprazolam pills, and more than $156,000 at the 249 Merrow St. address.
If convicted on the two drug charges, Poland faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
He was scheduled to make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court on Monday in Portland.
In court records, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Michael Gagnon wrote that a search of Poland’s office turned up files for his company, TY Construction, which is incorporated in Maine.
In the office, agents discovered the pink Ecstasy pills in a small credenza between two bookshelves. Concealed behind another desk in the office, they found two bags: one containing pink pills and another that contained white pills, believed to be alprazolam, a generic prescription tranquilizer. No prescription bottle for the medication was found in the office, Gagnon wrote.
Tax records reflected income earned by TY Construction, the agent wrote.
Agents found a key in a baseball glove that opened an office safe where $140,000 in cash had been secured. An additional $16,370 in cash was found elsewhere in the office.
The investigation is being conducted by the USDEA; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the FBI; the Maine State Police; and the Lewiston, Auburn, Windham, Biddeford and Scarborough Police Departments.
Richard “Stitch” Daniels, 52, of Lewiston was arrested on Feb. 27 and charged with intent to distribute marijuana and manufacturing butane hash oil. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine, if convicted.
Brian Bilodeau, 33, of Auburn was arrested a day later and charged with illegal possession of a firearm in relation to drug trafficking and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine on the drug charge, and between five years and life in prison and a $250,000 fine on the firearms charge.
This story will be updated.
An IRS investigator walks up the driveway of Tyler Poland’s home and office on Merrow Road in Auburn during the February drug bust in the Lewiston and Auburn. Poland has been arrested and charged today. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)