AUGUSTA — Methamphetamine is apparently in high demand in the central Maine area.
When a confidential informant went to buy methamphetamine in Oakland using $100 supplied by drug agents, the girlfriend of a man facing charges as a trafficker said, “You have no idea how many calls we are getting for it.”
The conversation from Feb. 27 was recorded via a body wire worn by the informant and filed as evidence in the case where six people were arrested and charged following a raid Friday on what police called a methamphetamine manufacturing operation in Waterville and Oakland.
Five of those individuals remained behind bars Monday afternoon following initial court appearances via video from Kennebec County jail.
All five are charged with unlawful trafficking in methamphetamine. They were arrested Friday in raids on two apartments on Center Street in Oakland and a hotel room at the Fireside Inn on Main Street in Waterville.
Justice Michaela Murphy set bail for each of the codefendants.
Eric “Joe” Finnemore, 35, of Linneus in Aroostook County, is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail or $200,000 worth of real estate.
James Bell, 43, of Oakland, is being held in lieu of $15,000 bail.
Christopher Mceachern, 24, and Corey Stevens, 21, both of Oakland, are being held in lieu of $10,000 bail. Both also are charged with unlawful possession of scheduled drugs.
Katherine Tibbetts, 48, of Oakland is being held in lieu of $2,500 unsecured bail with a Maine Pretrial Supervision contract.
A sixth person arrested on Friday, Rachel Wolfe, 26, also of Oakland, identified by investigators as the girlfriend of Mceachern, was charged with possession of methamphetamine and bailed directly from the Oakland Police Department.
Affidavits by Maine Drug Enforcement Special Agent Rick Stubbert filed in Kennebec County Superior Court outlined the charges against the five.
He said a confidential informant, identified as a person who used to sell heroin to Mceachern and Finnemore to bring them down from “three-day benders,” agreed to try to buy methamphetamines from both men.
The informant also told police that Finnemore paid people to buy pseudoephedrine for him. Pseudoephedrine is used to make methamphetamine, frequently in one-pot labs, such as soda bottles.
Stubbert said the informant was given $100 to buy a gram of methamphetamines from Mceachern at his Center Street apartment. In the Feb. 27 conversation, which was recorded by the informant, according to Stubbert, Wolfe said, “You have no idea how many calls we are getting for it.”
Four hours later, the informant allegedly got the methamphetamine from Mceachern in the parking lot of the Fireside Inn, where Finnemore had rented a room.
During Friday’s raid, Maine Drug Enforcement agents reported recovering eight one-pot meth labs from Finnemore’s room, another that was apparently thrown by Mceachern when agents arrived, as well as Coleman fuel and muriatic acid.
A wing of the hotel was evacuated after agents reported evidence of meth manufacturing in a room. The manufacturing process involves highly flammable and explosive material, police noted. On Friday, agents also searched the two Center Street apartments. All the searches were done by agents wearing protective suits.
Stubbert’s affidavit said they found tinfoil and suspected methamphetamine residue in an apartment shared by Bell and Tibbetts and Stevens.
Subbert also said they found “the remains of a one-pot meth lab in the trunk of (Stevens’) vehicle.”
Stevens told investigators he bought 20 boxes of Sudafed and brought them to Finnemore to make methamphetamine and in return received small amounts of the drug, according to Stubbert’s affidavit.
Betty Adams — 621-5631