Source: The Bangor Daily News (ME)
Pubdate: Thu, 16 Jul 1998
Author: Sharon Mack


SKOWHEGAN - Brick after brick of marijuana, each triple-wrapped in blue,
brown, and then clear plastic wrap, were weighed Wednesday morning by
detectives from the Somerset County Sheriff's Department.

"This is the way they are wrapped for shipment in and out of state,"
Detective Carl Gottardi explained. "It's to mask the odor." Spices had been
sprinkled over the 53 bricks to further disguise the heavy smell of pot.

"This is very professional," the detective said, "and very high-grade,
worth about $2,000 a pound."

Gottardi and an army of Somerset deputies swooped down on a North Anson
residence late Tuesday to execute a search warrant. Operating on an
informant's tip, they knew they would find marijuana, but what they came up
with was $200,000 of high-grade pot, all in 2-pound bricks. The pot was
stashed in a plastic cooler, an Army duffel bag and a suitcase.

The search was conducted at the home of Elilzabeth Toner and Joseph Fortin
II. Also staying at the residence were Charles Gillespie of Nevada and Toby
Douglas of Colorado.

Gillespie, 47, was arrested and charged with aggravated trafficking in
marijuana. He is being held at Somerset County Jail pending a first
appearance in court.

Douglas, Toner and Fortin all are being sought by police, according to
Chief Deputy Ron Moody. When captured, they also will be charged with
aggravated trafficking.

In all, 109 pounds of compressed marijuana were seized, all in wrapped
bricks, as well as a loaded 10 mm semiautomatic pistol, more than $1,600 in
cash, drug transaction documentation, drug paraphernalia and a vehicle.

According to Moody, the department has been investigating large amounts of
marijuana coming into Somerset County in recent months.

"This was part of that investigation," he said Wednesday morning. "These
dealers are from Colorado, Nevada and Arizona, and they had set up in Maine
to do business."

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Checked-by: (Joel W. Johnson)