County jail inmate, three others, charged with drug felonies
A Kennebec County Jail inmate faced new felony charges after police say he worked from within his jail cell to coordinate drug trafficking on the streets of Waterville.
Three other people were also arrested Thursday and charged with drug-related offenses as part of the investigation by the Waterville Police Department, according to Charles Rumsey, deputy chief of the department.
Mark Hilliard, 31, of Bronx, N.Y., was charged Friday with criminal conspiracy to traffic scheduled drugs, aggravated trafficking of scheduled drugs and illegal importation of scheduled drugs.
The charges, all felonies, carry a combined maximum sentence of 45 years in jail and a $75,000 fine.
Police say that Hilliard, who was already in jail on a series of drug charges brought against him in June, was orchestrating the continued importation of drugs from New York City to Waterville.
While in jail, Hilliard was in contact with Sammiya Butts, a 24-year-old woman, also of Bronx, N.Y., according to Rumsey.
Working on a tip from the public, Waterville police Detective Duane Cloutier, who led the investigation, followed Butts as she arrived in Waterville Thursday on a bus from New York and travelled by car to a Walmart parking lot.
In the parking lot, they arrested Butts and Timothy Hogan, 35, of Waterville at about 2:30 p.m. While searching the car used to take Butts from the bus to the parking lot, Rumsey said, police seized 70 individually packaged pieces of crack cocaine. He said the street value of the crack, which weighed 1.37 ounces total, was $5,600.
Immediately after the arrest, police entered Hogan’s home, an apartment on Chaplin Street, using a search warrant for the residence. Rumsey said the search warrant was in place by the time Butts and Hogan were arrested, because the investigation had already led them to believe that crack cocaine from New York City was being sold out of that apartment.
At the apartment, police seized a small amount of marijuana and some drug paraphernalia. Rumsey said several children were present in the residence, and that police contacted the Department of Health and Human Services to inform state workers of the circumstances of the investigation.
Another woman, Elizabeth O’Neil, 20, who shares the apartment with Hogan, was also arrested at the home.
Butts, Hogan, and O’Neil all face serious criminal drug charges.
Butts was charged with the same three felonies as Hilliard, which carry a combined maximum penalty of 45 years in jail and a $75,000 fine.
Hogan and O’Neil were each charged with aggravated trafficking and criminal conspiracy to traffic scheduled drugs, which carry a combined maximum penalty of 40 years in jail and a $70,000 fine.
Hogan has been charged with various lesser crimes in the area over the past three years, including domestic violence assault at the apartment he shares with O’Neil.
Hilliard’s name first began appearing in police reports in April, when he was summoned on a charge of possession of marijuana at the Budget Host Inn on Kennedy Memorial Drive in Waterville. Two months later, in June, Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey said Hilliard was suspected of bringing about $40,000 worth of drugs from New York City, including six ounces of crack cocaine, 46 bags of heroin, nearly 500 oxycodone pills, and three grams of powdered cocaine, all of which was seized during a search of a Ticonic Street apartment.
During that search, police also confiscated about $3,000 in cash, and $160 in counterfeit bills.
Police charged Hilliard when they noticed him in a red pickup truck driving up and down Ticonic Street, watching the police as they executed the search warrant. Two other Waterville residents were also charged in that incident.
In connection with the Ticonic Street incident, Hilliard was indicted in July in Kennebec Superior Court on six counts of aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs, four counts of unlawful possession of scheduled drugs, two counts of criminal forfeiture and one count of aggravated forgery.
Butts, Hogan and O’Neil were all transported to Kennebec County Jail, where Butts is being held on $3,000 cash bail, while Hogan is being held on $2,500 unsecured bail for the drug charges, plus $1,090 cash bail for his previous warrants.
O’Neil was released on unsecured bail of $2,500.
All four are scheduled to appear in Kennebec Superior Court Dec. 10.