RUMFORD – Following simultaneous police raids Thursday morning in Rumford and Mexico, two area men were arrested for drug trafficking.

Kevin M. Arsenault, 30, of 7 Spring St., Mexico, was arrested by Maine Drug Enforcement Agent Tony Milligan and charged with trafficking in marijuana. Arsenault was released after posting $25,000 unsecured bail.

Daniel McCann, 25, of 512 Kennebec St., Rumford, was arrested by Rumford Detective Lt. Wayne Gallant and charged with trafficking in cocaine. McCann was released after posting $10,000 unsecured bail.

Both charges are being upgraded to aggravated status because the two men were reportedly trafficking in drugs within 1,000 feet of schools, Gallant said Thursday.

McCann lived within “a very close distance” of Rumford Elementary School and Arsenault lived near the former Mexico high school, which is being used as the SAD 43 superintendent’s office.

Participating in Thursday’s drug raids – dubbed Operation Snowball – were approximately 20 police officers from Rumford, Mexico, Dixfield and Oxford County departments, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, and Maine State Police.

Armed with search warrants, the officers split into two teams, Gallant said.

“When we went on the raid at 7:30 this morning, there were kids in the playground at RES and going to school. We could even hear them talking from the playground,” Gallant said, noting how close McCann lived to the facility.

Upon entering the McCann residence, Gallant said officers met with no resistance, surprising two adults at home, asleep.

During a search of the apartment, police seized a small amount of cocaine and drug paraphernalia and cash, “evidence that supports trafficking,” Gallant said.

At Arsenault’s residence, police secured evidence and signs of trafficking as well as “well over a quarter of a pound” of marijuana, said Sgt. Tracy Higley.

No weapons were found at either residence.

Both raids were the culmination of an ongoing drug investigation, intelligence gathering and undercover operations that began two years ago.

The first phase, Operation Noble Deed, netted 11 arrests last spring for possession of or trafficking in cocaine.

Operation Snowball is the second stage of the area’s multi-phase crackdown on drug trafficking.

“Our investigation showed that two different types of drugs are being trafficked. We know Rumford doesn’t produce a whole lot of drugs, but we’re starting to learn where it’s coming in from,”Gallant said.

“We hope that this shows we’re trying to get the message out that we’re trying to keep our schools safe. We can’t stop every drug deal but there’s two businesses out of business right now,” Gallant added.

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