Local police and state drug agents seized two guns, a bulletproof vest, drugs and cash from a home at 500 Knox St. in Rumford on Monday and arrested a man from Sanford and a woman from Mexico. Maine Department of Public Safety photo

RUMFORD — For the second time in four months, Rumford police and Maine Drug Enforcement Agency agents arrested Derek A. Gerrish, 30, of Sanford on drug and weapons charges, police Chief Tony Milligan said in a news release.

Seized from Gerrish’s car and a two-unit apartment building at 500 Knox St. were about 300 doses of suspected fentanyl, 3 grams of methamphetamine, 24 doses of Suboxone, LSD, two pistols, a bulletproof vest and $1,831 in suspected drug proceeds and scales, the chief said.

Derek Gerrish Rumford Police photo

Gerrish is charged with aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and three counts of violation of conditions of release.

Chelsea Daggett, 28, of Mexico was arrested at the residence and initially charged with theft, Milligan said.

The first floor of the building was occupied, but neither Gerrish nor Daggett lived there, the chief said. He declined to provide further information citing the ongoing investigation.

Both were taken to Oxford County Jail in Paris, where Gerrish is accused of damaging the booking room and was charged with criminal mischief, the chief said.

The arrests were the result of several months of surveillance at the home after community members reported concerns about ongoing drug trafficking there.

Milligan said law enforcement agencies began Monday stopping vehicles coming from the residence and used a police K-9 team to sniff for drugs. One the vehicles was driven by Gerrish. Afterward, MDEA agents, Maine State Police troopers and Rumford police executed a search warrant at the home.

It’s the second time this year that Gerrish has been stopped by local police. On Feb. 12 he was pulled over for a traffic violation and police found he and his passenger, Shanda Murphy, 26, of Berwick, in possession of methamphetamine. A search of the vehicle revealed more methamphetamine, dozens of hypodermic syringes and a locked safe, which held methamphetamine, nearly 250 doses of suspected fentanyl, eight methadone tablets, 24 doses of Suboxone, LSD, two sets of digital scales and $3,580 in suspected drug proceeds, Milligan said.

Gerrish and Murphy were taken to the Oxford County Jail and later released on bail.

The local investigation revealed Gerrish was convicted of heroin trafficking in York County in an MDEA case in 2015, according to Milligan.

Milligan credited Monday’s arrests to the public’s cooperation with his department.

“We work very hard to improve the quality of life to the residents of Rumford,” he said. “That means we conduct surveillances, gather information and evidence to build the best case we can to disrupt and hopefully dismantle drug trafficking operations that are all too often originating from out of state in our community. Fostering partnerships with other agencies is crucial because of our limited resources and having a certified drug K-9 team on the department certainly helps with that mission.”

He said residents often express frustration with the police for not rushing in and making arrests whenever a drug tip is reported, but it requires patience, time and accuracy to complete an investigation.

“With my nearly 30 years of experience as a drug enforcement agent prior to becoming chief of police, I can tell you that in order to be effective, the case needs to be solid, otherwise you’re wasting time and resources. Quality investigations that will have a positive impact in the community takes time and a commitment from officers to be patient and do a thorough investigation. Rumford is fortunate to have a strong team of officers who live in and care for their community. I am proud of my department for the work they do each and every day.”

Reports of suspected criminal activity can be made anonymously online at www.rumfordpd.com, or by sending a direct message by Facebook Messenger, or by calling 207-364-3449.

“We have always worked well with the community to try to make things safer and better, together,” Milligan said. “Drug trafficking and drug addiction is a complicated issue that cannot be successfully resolved by the police alone. There are a lot of moving parts, from education to treatment to enforcement and more. We all need to work together to combat this cancer.”


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