LEWISTON – Three men were arrested on drug charges this week and one of them later proved to be a wanted rape suspect from St. Louis.
The men were arrested Monday and early Thursday after an investigation that gained momentum when a drug agent was nearly struck by a bag of marijuana hurled from a motel window.
Two New York men and another from Philadelphia were arrested by drug agents investigating the transportation of marijuana and crack to the Lewiston area. Investigators said the drugs were being peddled from various locations around the city, including a Pleasant Street motel, a Bartlett Street apartment and another at Tall Pines.
On Monday night, Maine Drug Enforcement agents received information that crack and marijuana was being sold from two rooms at Motel 6, police said. “You had one room selling marijuana, and the other selling crack,” said MDEA Supervisor Gerry Baril.
Drug agents and Lewiston police began watching the motel and spotted several known drug abusers from the area visiting the rooms.
They were stopped by uniformed police officers and questioned. Police said the men surrendered useable quantities of drugs admittedly purchased from the out-of-state suspects occupying the motel rooms.
While uniformed Lewiston police officers made contact with the suspects in the rooms, MDEA agents were posted outside to observe. Police said one of the agents was almost struck on the head by a large package of marijuana thrown out the window from one of the suspect’s rooms. The package turned out to contain a quarter pound of marijuana, broken down into smaller quantities likely for sale, and $1,600 in cash.
Charles Dent, 28, of Philadelphia, was arrested Monday at the motel and charged with trafficking in marijuana.
Phinnigan Edwards, 32, of Brooklyn, was found in another motel room and charged with trafficking and importation of crack cocaine. He was later freed from jail on $5,000 cash bail.
Artre “Dante” Kennedy, 31, of Brooklyn, had just checked out of a motel room, police said. Investigators found 4.9 ounces of crack hidden in the room and later learned Kennedy was staying at an apartment on Bartlett Street.
After setting up surveillance there early Thursday, police found and arrested Kennedy and charged him with a parole violation from a previous charge in the Bronx. Investigators said they found another 5 grams of crack in the apartment at 88 Bartlett St.
Police said they also found Edwards at the apartment after he had been bailed from jail the day before. Investigators said he was carrying $4,860 in alleged drug money when he was found.
He was rearrested on a charge of conspiracy to traffic crack and returned to jail.
A day after Edwards was arrested for the second time, police learned through his fingerprints that he is really Troy Jenkins, a 37-year-old man wanted on a rape charge in St. Louis.
Also inside the Bartlett Street apartment was a 16-year-old girl, a runaway from Maryland who drug agents suspect was involved with the importation of the crack from out of state after arriving in Maine by bus.
Lewiston police took the girl into custody and turned her over to a juvenile caseworker for eventual return to Maryland.
Drug agents said they also learned that an apartment in Tall Pines in Lewiston was being used to hide additional crack cocaine. That apartment at 99 Strawberry Ave. was searched and another 5 grams of crack were seized.
Drug agents said a total of 150 grams of crack were seized as a result of the investigation, with a street value of $30,000.