AUGUSTA — The purchase of an over-the-counter medication and the sight of a suspect “burping” a bottle in which police believe methamphetamine was being made led to the arrest of three men on drug trafficking charges Wednesday and a raid of the premises in Monmouth the following day.

That’s according to court documents made available Friday when the trio charged with unlawful trafficking in methamphetamine made initial appearances via video link in Augusta District Court.

Bail for James W. Renaud, 33, of Monmouth was set at $2,500 cash or $10,000 surety, with conditions that he not possess pseudoephedrine or have contact with his two co-defendants except at work.

An attorney representing him, David Geller, argued that twisting a bottle and possessing pseudoephedrine did not provide enough evidence to arrest Renaud on the charge.

Judge Beth Dobson disagreed, saying it met the probable cause standard.

The affidavit by Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Officer Lowell Woodman Jr., filed with the court, said Renaud bought pseudoephedrine on Wednesday, and Woodman watched Renaud on the back deck of his home.

Pseudoephedrine is an over-the-counter medication used to treat nasal and sinus congestion. It is also used to make methamphetamine.

“I observed James (Renaud) handle a green bottle with a white substance on the bottom,” Woodman wrote. “I observed James grab the cap and turn it counter-clockwise approximately one-quarter turn. I then observed him look at the bottle and place it on a chair on his back deck. I immediately recognized this as a ‘one pot’ methamphetamine manufacture and James was releasing the pressure built up inside the bottle, commonly referred as burping.”

Assistant District Attorney James Mitchell Jr. asked Renaud’s bail to be set at $5,000 cash or $25,000 worth of property.

“Methamphetamine and its manufacture in the state is a growing problem,” Mitchell said. “Our concerns are Renaud was manufacturing for himself and others.”

Bail for the other two men, Renaud’s brother Robert Dumont, 27, of Monmouth, and Brandon Proctor, 42, of Oxford, was set at $500 cash or $5,000 worth of property.

Mitchell described those two as accomplices providing the pseudoephedrine to Renaud.

Bail conditions prohibit all three men from possessing pseudoephedrine.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]


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