RUMFORD — Three people from Oxford County were arrested Sunday after police said they recovered nearly 50,000 milligrams of fentanyl during a traffic stop on state Route 108.

Marianela Rodriguez Rumford Police Department

Police said that on Sunday afternoon, Rumford police got a tip that three people, James Lynch, 35, of Cumberland Street of Rumford, Marianela Rodriguez, 47, of Virgin Street in Rumford, and Andrew Mills, 25, of Damon Road in Sumner, would be driving back into town with a significant amount of fentanyl meant for distribution in Rumford.

Police began the search for the gray Nissan Altima the suspects were said to be using.

“Officer Dakota Willhoite monitored traffic along Route 108 and spotted the vehicle and suspect occupants traveling inbound towards Rumford as reported by the tipster,” according to a news release. “Officer Willhoite conducted the traffic stop and Officer Lawrence Briggs and drug detection K-9 Niko responded to assist. Niko was deployed for a K-9 sniff around the exterior of the car and positively indicated the presence of narcotics odor. A search of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of drug paraphernalia, but no drugs.”

With the dog still at work, police continued to investigate.

Andrew Mills Rumford Police Department

“Niko was then deployed around each of the occupants and indicated the presence of narcotics odor in Rodriguez’s groin area,” according to the release. “Rodriguez subsequently surrendered nearly five ‘fingers’ of bulk-compressed fentanyl weighing approximately 47,510 milligrams which was concealed inside her body cavity. No drugs were found on any of the other occupants.”


Rodriquez, Mills and Lynch were arrested while a fourth occupant of the vehicle was released without charge.

Each suspect was charged with aggravated trafficking in fentanyl. Lynch was additionally charged with violating conditions of release; Mills with failing to appear in court on an earlier charge of drug possession.

The suspects were taken to the Oxford County Jail in Paris. Mills and Rodriguez have since been released on personal recognizance. Lynch remained jailed on $1,000 cash bail.

James Lynch Rumford Police Department

“The amount of fentanyl seized in this case represents as much as 23,755 dosage units or potential opportunities for overdose deaths,” according to the release. “The estimated street value in Rumford for this fentanyl is potentially worth $9,500.00. If convicted as charged, each defendant could face a mandatory prison sentence of no less than four years and up to a maximum of 30 years in prison and up to a $50,000.00 fine or a combination of both. Police are continuing with their investigation and expect that others are likely to be charged in the future.”

Rumford Police Chief Tony Milligan said targeting people who traffic in fentanyl remains a priority for his department.

“I have instructed my officers to continue with aggressive targeted investigation of those choosing to distribute this deadly poison in our community,” Milligan wrote in the release. “We have seen too many lives and families destroyed by dangerous drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine. This is a cancer that has spread out of control nationwide that directly affects every citizen. While we are committed to disrupting the flow of these drugs into our community and dismantling drug trafficking organizations profiting off the backs of our community members, we are equally committed to providing help to those suffering from substance use.”

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