LEWISTON — Two men believed to be connected to heroin overdose deaths in Lewiston and Rangeley over the weekend were in court Wednesday.

The men are also believed to be connected to a third heroin overdose in Mechanic Falls, but that person survived.

Vincent Steed, 34, of Lewiston and Devin Webbert, 29, of the Bronx, N.Y., each was charged with aggravated trafficking in heroin and crack cocaine. Each was being held Wednesday at the Androscoggin County Jail on $20,000 cash bail.

The men will not enter pleas to these charges until after their respective cases go before an Androscoggin County grand jury in December.

According to affidavits in support of their arrests, the drug charges are considered “aggravated” because the crimes occurred within 1,000 feet of a drug-free “safe zone,” about 236 feet from Simard-Payne Memorial Park.

Steed and Webbert were arrested by Maine Drug Enforcement Agency agents on Monday and were being held at the jail on $50,000 cash bail. Justice John Beliveau reduced the bail amount Wednesday at the request of defense counsel.

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According to Matt Cashman, supervisor of the MDEA’s Western District Task Force, the agency’s investigation of two heroin overdose deaths and a third non-lethal heroin overdose led police to an apartment at 69 Lincoln St.

Steed and Webbert were arrested in that apartment Monday.

Cashman said MDEA is continuing its investigation into the overdose deaths on Friday and Sunday, one in Lewiston and the other in Rangeley.

According to affidavits in support of the arrests, MDEA Special Agent Brian Beauparlant described the investigation of the activities in the Lincoln Street building going back to June.

At that time, according to the affidavit, MDEA agents received information that Chad Nichols was selling heroin from a motel in Lewiston. He was arrested on a probation hold, charged with trafficking and released several weeks later. In July, police were tipped off that he was selling heroin from Apt. 7 at 69 Lincoln St.

Police were also monitoring a suspected drug house on Oak Street, and were told by a number of people there that they bought drugs from “Chris” at the Lincoln Street apartment “all the time.” When police went to that apartment in August, they were told “we just missed ‘Chris,’” which is an alias used by Vincent Steed.

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On Monday, according to his affidavit, Beauparlant was advised that Mechanic Falls police officers were at the scene of a suspected drug overdose in that town. When the victim was able to talk with police, he said he and a friend bought drugs from a “tall white building” next to the Lewiston House of Pizza.

That building is the 69 Lincoln St. apartment building.

The victim also told police that he and his friend had driven to New York on Sunday to pick up a man named “Vic” and later dropped him off at 69 Lincoln St.

“Vic” is Vincent Steed.

While investigating the Mechanic Falls overdose, Beauparlant learned that the overdose victim and his friend both use the victim’s grandmother’s cellphone, and the grandmother allowed police to look through the phone for contacts and text messages.

“While searching the phone with the consent of the owner,” Beauparlant said, “Vic had sent a text to the phone.” So, Beauparlant sent back a text asking if he could meet up with “Vic” later, asking if he should go to Lincoln Street. “Vic” confirmed by text and “then advised to let him know when I was coming so he could be ready.”

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At that point, according to Beauparlant’s affidavit, police prepared a search warrant for the Lincoln Street apartment. Using the grandmother’s phone, “while en route to the residence, I sent ‘Vic’ a text that I was on my way,” Beauparlant wrote.

When police arrived at the apartment, they could see two men inside, but the men would not open the door. Police used force to get into the apartment and arrested Steed and Webbert.

While in the apartment, Beauparlant called the phone number he had been texting and Steed’s phone rang.

According to the affidavit, police seized 53 bags of suspected heroin, another baggie of suspected heroin weighing 4.2 grams, and 72 bags of suspected crack cocaine in the room where Steed and Webbert had been sitting. Police also seized a small amount of marijuana, a digital scale and other drug paraphernalia.

The approximate street value of the drugs is $6,000, according to police.

In addition to the $20,000 cash bail, Steed and Webbert must submit to random search and testing for drug use and may not have contact with one another.

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In arguing for a high cash bail, Assistant District Attorney Melanie Portas described Steed’s criminal background, including a number of convictions for operating under the influence, illegal possession of a firearm, unlawful trafficking in drugs and aggravated criminal trespass. He also has multiple unpaid fines in Sagadahoc and Cumberland counties.

Steed has lived in Maine for the past 10 years and has four children.

Portas said the only conviction her office was able to verify for Webbert was marijuana possession. He is married with two children living in New York and was visiting Maine over the weekend to get a break from the city, he said.

Both men told the court that they did seasonal construction work, but neither is currently employed.

Attorney George Hess was appointed to represent Steed; Allan Lobozzo was appointed to represent Webbert.

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the phone used to send texts to arrange a meeting at the Lincoln Street apartment belonged to Vincent Steed, not Devin Webbert.


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