The Maine Department of Health and Human Services removed a 5-year-old child from a home on Verona Island this week after drug enforcement agents allege that the child’s parents and another man were operating a methamphetamine lab in the residence.

According to a statement from Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland, agents from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency on Tuesday arrested 27-year-old Craig Kneeland, of Verona Island, on Class A felony charges of aggravated operation of a meth lab and violating conditions of release.

State agents also arrested the child’s parents, 28-year-old Jami Cass, also of Verona Island, and 22-year-old Chandler Levesque, of Bucksport. Police say they were living at the home with their child.

In addition to the charge of illegally operating a meth lab, Cass and Levesque were charged with endangering the welfare of a child. The child was placed in another living arrangement by the state agency, McCausland said.

“MDEA agents received information Tuesday that Kneeland had been making methamphetamine at his Bridges Road mobile home on Verona Island,” McCausland said. “Agents learned that the mobile home that Kneeland lived in had been the scene of a fire, although the fire department was never called.”

The manufacture of meth has the potential to be highly flammable.

On Tuesday afternoon, drug agents located Kneeland leaving a local hardware store where he purchased muriatic acid and lithium batteries, which are both used to make meth. Agents took Kneeland back to his home and found quantities of meth, items and ingredients used to make meth, and a loaded .357-caliber handgun. They also discovered 33 plastic bottles believed used to make meth.

Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It can take the form of a white, odorless, bitter tasting crystalline power that can be easily dissolved in water or alcohol.

McCausland said that Kneeland has five outstanding warrants for his arrest including operating after suspension and trafficking in prison contraband.

Verona Island is a town in Hancock County that sits on an island in the Penobscot River between Prospect and Bucksport.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]

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