WATERVILLE — An Oakland man was arrested Thursday afternoon on charges of possessing eight bags of the synthetic pain killer fentanyl and more than a gram of crack cocaine.

Deputy Chief William Bonney said Nicholas Hinerman, 28, of Ayer Street, Oakland, was arrested at 4:48 p.m. on Front Street by Officer Ryan Dinsmore. Bonney said Dinsmore was parked at the American Legion when he noticed Hinerman driving, and that Dinsmore knew from prior dealings with Hinerman that his license was suspended.

Dinsmore stopped Hinerman in the parking lot and while he was arresting him, Hinerman reached for his pocket, Bonney said. Dinsmore stopped him and, while searching Hinerman, found 2.4 grams of fentanyl — a synthetic opioid medication that is more potent than morphine or heroin — divided among eight bags. Hinerman was also in possession of 1.2 grams of crack, Bonney said.

Hinerman was charged with operating after suspension, use of drug paraphernalia, aggravated trafficking of a schedule W drug — the fentanyl — and possession of a schedule W drug. Bonney said aggravated trafficking is a class A crime, and that charge was filed against Hinerman because of his record.

“We’ve had numerous dealings with him in the past,” Bonney said.

Bonney said the drugs Hinerman had were serious. Fentanyl is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin, and a person using fentanyl is more likely to overdose than if he or she uses heroin.

Recently, a former Old Orchard Beach town councilor and a Saco woman died after accidentally overdosing on fentanyl. The drug is becoming more commonplace, police say, especially in instances in which heroin is laced with fentanyl or people think they are buying heroin but instead are sold fentanyl. The difference between the two is not easily detectable.

Bonney said when a person has as much fentanyl as Hinerman allegedly had, the intent is usually to sell the drug.

Hinerman was taken to the Kennebec County jail in Augusta, where he was being held in lieu of $5,000 bail.

Also in the car at the time of the incident was Chelsea Wyman, 25, of the same address in Oakland. Bonney said Wyman was arrested on a warrant citing an unrelated charge of failure to appear. Wyman paid her $250 bail.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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