RUMFORD – A man being held without bail since March in a Paris jail on drug charges is now accused of causing the overdose death of a woman in September.

On April 10, an Oxford County grand jury in Paris also indicted Earl S. Blanchard Jr., 49, of 323 Cumberland Street, on 19 additional drug-related charges stemming from his Maine Drug Enforcement Agency arrest in March. An arraignment date in Oxford County Superior Court in Paris hasn’t been set.

The MDEA arrested Blanchard on Nov. 19, 2007, on a charge of acquiring drugs by deception. A search warrant produced a cache of prescription drugs. He was later released on bail and re-arrested in March when police say he attempted to sell prescription drugs again in a Rumford school zone.

“Our argument for no bail is that even after having been charged for drug trafficking, he continued to sell drugs as an unlicensed pharmacist, so, he’s a public safety hazard,” Detective Lt. Daniel Garbarini said Wednesday afternoon at the police station.

Although Rumford police assisted the MDEA in drug investigations involving Blanchard, Garbarini said they didn’t become more intensely involved until after the death of Rebecca Clark, 35, of Cumberland Street.

That investigation by Garbarini and the MDEA lasted six months.

Garbarini said Clark died of a drug overdose on Sept. 25, 2007, after snorting propoxyphene – brand name Darvocet – tablets provided by Blanchard.

“As a result of her death, I interviewed her friends and one of them was Earl Blanchard, and he admitted to me that he sold her 10 Darvocets the night before she was found dead. As a witness, he provided information and admitted that he was trafficking,” Garbarini said.

As the investigation continued, Garbarini said that MDEA and Wal-Mart pharmacists “uncovered evidence that Blanchard had been lying to two different doctors to obtain prescriptions beyond his medical needs for Vicodin, that he later altered to provide him with over 1,000 extra tablets of Vicodin from April to November 2007, that he later sold in school zones in Rumford for $4 each.”

During the time of Clark’s death and an autopsy by the Maine Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, “a pharmacy reported to MDEA that Earl was taking in prescriptions and changing the number of refills on a number of ‘scripts,” said Garbarini, who ordered toxicology tests done on Clark.

Those results arrived last month.

“The medical examiner listed her cause of death as acute alcohol and propoxyphene toxicity,” Gabarini said.

On April 10, Blanchard was indicted on a felony charge of aggravated trafficking in Propoxyphene for selling drugs on or about Sept. 25, 2007 in Rumford, the use of which, caused a death.

“Blanchard was prescribed pills and he’s been dealing drugs for years,” Garbarini added.

The Nov. 19, 2007, drug charge was dismissed by the MDEA so that Blanchard could be re-indicted.

Blanchard was also arrested on Dec. 19, 2003, by the MDEA and charged with multiple felonies, accused of trafficking in prescription painkillers Vicodin and Darvocet and marijuana, two counts of acquiring drugs by deception, criminal forfeiture of a gun, and attempted acquiring drugs, according to his Oxford County Superior Court file.

A clerk’s assistant there on Wednesday said all but the attempted acquiring misdemeanor were dropped. Blanchard had to forfeit the gun, but was freed on a deferred disposition.

He was previously convicted in 2002 in Rumford on a charge of unlawful possession of scheduled drugs.


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