Seven people were arrested Monday on crack and heroin charges following an Augusta drug bust that law enforcement officials describe as one of the most significant in recent years.

The arrests followed a search at the Senator Inn & Spa on Western Avenue and an apartment at 41 Gage St. during which police seized 108 grams of crack cocaine, 66 grams of heroin and a half-pound of marijuana, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. The drugs have a street value of $25,000, McCausland said.

Police also took possession of two loaded handguns and nearly $14,000 in cash.

Deputy Chief Jared Mills, of the Augusta police, said the bust was “one of the most significant” in the recent past.

“We believe this was a large supplier within our area,” Mills said.

Interim Kennebec County Sheriff Ryan Reardon said the recovered cash, which he said reflects product that already had been sold, indicates that the suspected dealers began with nearly double the amount of drugs found during the search. Reardon likened the takedown of the alleged drug trafficking group to a good day of hunting.

“If we’re going to equate it to hunting, this is a 10-point buck,” he said of the drug bust. “That is a lot of heroin and a lot of crack.”

Mills said the bust will stymie the availability of heroin on the street at least temporarily, which could mean those addicted to opiates instead could turn their attention to prescription drugs. That could translate into a spike in pharmacy robberies.

“Heroin and prescription medication go hand-in-hand, and when one is in low supply, the other becomes more sought after,” Mills said. “Heroin is being abused more than prescription medications at this time because it is less expensive. However, if the heroin supply is reduced, we run the risk of medications being stolen from people and pharmacies.”

Mills urged people to be vigilant and report any suspicious behavior to police.

“Our investigators remain diligent in working with the public and identifying dealers as they come into our area,” Mills said.

Five of the seven people arrested Monday are from New York City. Mills said the arrests highlight the continuing problem of out-of-state drug dealers coming into Maine.

The bust was a joint effort between Augusta police and the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Mills said a drug detective recently added to the city’s department “played a significant role” in the investigation.

Reardon and Mills said the bust is a product of effective cooperation among the agencies. “We look forward to future collaborations in our ongoing fight against drugs,” Mills said.

Arrests made at the Senator include those of Kashawn McLaughlin and Porchia D. Woodard, both 25; Davina Abdusalan, 23; Tymell R. Waters, 30; and Frederick Rogers, 31, all of New York City. All were charged with two counts of aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs with a firearm. McLaughlin and Rogers also were each charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. McLaughlin also was issued warrants charging him with trafficking in scheduled drugs and a fugitive warrant from New York charging him with violating parole.

Donna L. Hall, 45, of Augusta, was arrested at the Senator Inn and charged with two counts of aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs.

Melissa Clark, 32, of Augusta, was arrested at the Gage Street apartment on a charge of trafficking in scheduled drugs.

The five from New York and Hall are all being held at the Kennebec County jail in lieu of $50,000 bail each. Clark’s bail was set at $5,000.

Mills said a police search of a second room at the Senator Inn led to charges unrelated to the alleged trafficking ring. Angela Robinson-Sutherburg, 44, was charged on a warrant for probation revocation, and Jeremy Sutherburg, 40, was charged with unlawful heroin possession. Mills said the charge is a misdemeanor because of a recent law change.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4

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