LISBON FALLS – Police on Thursday arrested a local store owner charging that he has been dealing drugs out of his business for at least several months. A second man was charged with dealing pot from his home.

Sam Sylvia, 31, owner of Lisbon Falls Redemption Center, was arrested at the business Thursday afternoon on a charge of aggravated trafficking in marijuana.

Sylvia was the first of two men arrested by Lisbon police Thursday in an ongoing effort to crack down on drug dealing in the town.

Lisbon police said they have been investigating Sylvia since late last year. Police said several undercover investigators bought pot from Sylvia at the store, which is less than 600 feet from the Lisbon High School.

One undercover informant working with police told investigators he has been buying from Sylvia since he was a high school student.

About 3 p.m. Thursday, Lisbon police assisted by Maine Drug Enforcement agents went to the Lewiston Road redemption center with a search warrant. The business was closed and employees were sent home.

Police said they found marijuana packaged for distribution hidden in coolers inside the business. It was what they had expected to find.

“We’ve been working on this for five or six months,” said Lisbon police Detective William Tapley, one of the lead investigators on the case. “We gathered intelligence and waited for the right time. Today was the right time.”

Sylvia, who lives in Turner, also owns the Lewiston Redemption Center on Lisbon Street in Lewiston. Police said there was no evidence he had been dealing drugs out of that business.

Hours after Sylvia was arrested, Lisbon police went to a home on nearby Goddard Street where they arrested a man they say has also been dealing marijuana.

Police said John St. Amant, 23, of 9 Goddard St., has been selling pot out of his home for months.

Investigators said on some occasions, undercover informants bought marijuana from St. Amant while a toddler was in the same room.

St. Amant’s home is also close to the Lisbon High School, police said. But because it is not within 1,000 feet, the charge against him was not considered aggravated. St. Amant was arrested on a charge of trafficking in marijuana.

Investigators said they found more of the drug at the Goddard Street home and that it was pre-packaged for sale.

During their investigations Thursday, Lisbon police also seized at least one gun, although it was unclear where the shotgun was found.

Police said they are continuing to target people who traffic in marijuana and other drugs in Lisbon and said more arrests are possible.


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