AUBURN — An Auburn man was arrested Friday afternoon after receiving a package containing more than $3 million worth of fentanyl he had mailed to himself at a local restaurant, according to police.

Jeremy Mercier, 41, was arrested on charges of aggravated illegal importation of drugs, aggravated trafficking in fentanyl and violating bail.

Jeremy Mercier Androscoggin County Jail photo

Mercier was arrested after the owners of Mac’s Grill at 1052 Minot Ave. called police to report they had discovered what appeared to be drugs after opening a package mailed to the restaurant.

“Employees of the restaurant believed the crate to contain a shipment of mugs they had recently ordered,” Deputy Chief Tim Cougle of the Auburn Police Department wrote in a statement released to the news media. “When employees opened the crate, they located a plastic tote, which contained what the employees believed was a significant quantity of illegal drugs.”

Police said the crate contained about 14 kilos of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine, but 50 to 100 times more potent.

After Mercier showed up to the restaurant seeking his package, he was promptly arrested. Investigators said they also seized $2,780 in suspected drug proceeds from Mercier.


The shipping container had been made to look like it contained motorcycle parts, according to witnesses. Mercier runs a motorcycle shop in the area. His name was on the shipping label, police said.

Mercier has no current connection to the restaurant. It was not immediately clear why the package was sent there.

He was taken to the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn, where he was being held without bail.

Mercier has a criminal history in the area. In 2007, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison after he was convicted of heading a local drug ring that for three years provided crack cocaine and marijuana to users in Androscoggin County. 

In the 2007 case, Mercier was also accused of selling cocaine and marijuana. He later pleaded guilty to the charges.

In all, 14 men and three women were indicted in the ring on charges that they distributed crack and other drugs to users in several cities and towns across Androscoggin County. Some of the suspects were believed to have formed the ring and others are suspected of joining later.

The latest case against Mercier is still being investigated, Cougle said. It was expected that federal charges could be forthcoming.

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