Courts and Crime

A 22-year-old Westbrook man was convicted Thursday of conspiracy following a three-day jury trial in U.S. District Court.

“He was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit offenses against the United States, namely the offense of SNAP trafficking and WIC program fraud,” says Assistant U.S. Attorney James Chapman, who prosecuted the case against Abdulkareem Daham.

Illegal methamphetamine makers often turn to college students and others to buy pseudoephedrine for them to make drugs in their home labs. Carlos Gutierrez, vice president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, says it’s a practice that law enforcement calls “smurfing.”

“That’s basically the act of purchasing pseudoephedrine, knowing or unknowingly on behalf of another individual who makes methamphetamine out of it,” he says.

In Maine and many other states, smurfing is a crime, punishable by years in prison.

Biddeford has become the latest Maine city to file a federal lawsuit against several manufacturers and distributors of opioids.

The Biddeford City Council voted earlier this month to join the nationwide lawsuit which is intended to bring some relief to local cities and towns from the costs associated with the opioid epidemic. Those include medical expenses, additional law enforcement and treatment programs.

Ben McCanna / Portland Press Herald via AP, Pool, File

PORTLAND, Maine - A landlord who was convicted following a fatal fire in Maine is due to file a brief in his appeals case.
Gregory Nisbet was convicted of code violations stemming from the November 2014 fire, which killed six people in Portland. He then appealed his conviction to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
A court spokeswoman says Nisbet initially had until Tuesday to file the brief and had not filed it by mid-morning. She says he was given a 10-day extension.

State police discovered the bodies of husband and wife Thomas and Michelle Masse in the town of Temple this afternoon.

Police responded to the home after Thomas Masse, 60, called 911 and threatened to shoot himself. State police spokesman Steve McCausland says crisis negotiators attempted to communicate for 2-3 hours, but were unsuccessful.

Police plan to charge a 17-year-old Lewiston High School student with terrorizing following an alleged shooting threat on social media Tuesday night.

Lewiston administrators began hearing from parents and community members about an alleged threat on social media by a student at Lewiston High School on Tuesday night. A screenshot of the message provided by Lewiston school officials suggested that the student’s friend was planning on “shooting up the school.”

Maine Gov. Paul LePage speaks during a conference of New England's governors and eastern Canada's premiers to discuss closer regional collaboration, Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, in Boston.
AP Photo/Elise Amendola

A federal judge has ordered Gov. Paul LePage to release about $3 million in federal job training funds to one of Maine’s three regional workforce boards.

The decision comes four months after the governor refused to release about $8 million in federal funds that are intended to go to the regional boards, including about $3 million for Coastal Counties Workforce, Inc., based in Brunswick.

LePage has repeatedly tried to consolidate the boards into one to reduce administrative costs, but those efforts have been rejected by federal officials.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

The Maine Board of Dental Practice has found in favor of a Lewiston dentist accused of putting the health and safety of his patients in immediate jeopardy.

Dr. Jan Kippax had his license temporarily suspended about a year ago after 18 patients filed nearly 200 complaints against him. But on Friday, the same board that suspended Kippax decided not to take further action.

MILLINOCKET, Maine - A North Carolina man has been arrested in connection with a fatal home invasion in Millinocket.
Authorities say Maine State Police arrested 38-year-old Christopher Murray, of Maxton, in North Carolina on Wednesday. Police say Murray will face murder charges in the death of 59-year-old Wayne Lapierre when he is extradited to Maine.
Police say they are also searching for second suspect in North Carolina in connection with the killing.

After Years Of Soaring Meth Busts, Evidence Of Production in Maine Plunges

Dec 28, 2017
Maine Drug Enforcement Agency / via Bangor Daily News

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency has found less than half as much evidence of meth production this year as last year — 56 incidents compared with 2016’s record high of 127.

GORHAM, Maine - The Maine Department of Public Safety says a retired state trooper has been charged with selling cocaine and fentanyl.
The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency arrested 51-year-old Jeffrey Linscott late Wednesday in Gorham, where he was allegedly making a drug transaction in a grocery store parking lot.
Several grams of suspected fentanyl, scales and $1,000 in cash were seized.
The Buxton man is charged with aggravated trafficking, trafficking and unlawful possession of drugs.

A Winslow couple was arrested Wednesday morning on charges connected to the disappearance of pair of pitbulls in October.

The dogs in question were slated for court-ordered euthanasia after they had killed a smaller dog in injured its owner. When the time came to surrender the dogs, 28-year-old Danielle Jones allegedly told police she’d lost them while on a walk.

Police say they used a search warrant to obtain a pair of mobile phones which they say were related to the case.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Maine State Police say an attack on two people in Millinocket that caused life-threatening injuries preceded a lockdown at the local hospital.

Lt. Troy Gardner said Wednesday that both assault victims, a man and a woman, were taken Tuesday night to Millinocket Regional Hospital before being taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

Courtesy Maine State

Maine State Police say the death of a 2-year-old girl in October in her home in Bucksport has been ruled a homicide.

Lt. Troy Gardner said Kloe Hawksley was found unresponsive at her home on Oct. 18 and pronounced dead at a hospital later that day.

"Because of the information learned during the autopsy, as well as the information learned through our investigative efforts, we have determined that this death is a homicide," Gardner said. "This investigation will continue to be active, we are asking for anyone who has any information about this death to contact us."

Local workforce officials argued in court on Monday that Gov. Paul LePage needed to release about $8 million in federal job training funds and said they were already affecting job seekers across Maine.

The lawsuit, from the regional workforce board Coastal Counties Workforce Inc., is asking LePage to release the funds from the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. LePage decided to withhold them earlier this year due to disagreements over the structure of Maine’s workforce boards.