Source: Bangor Daily News (ME)
Pubdate: September 15, 1998
Author: Walter Griffin, Of the NEWS Staff


- -- ROCKLAND - Police Chief Alfred Ockenfels is fed up with drug dealers out
on bail and still dealing drugs. "I blame our judicial system when persons
with prior drug counts are released on bail or given fines instead of being
sent to jail," Ockenfels said Monday. "How else is a drug trafficker going
to make his bail or pay his fines other than doing what he knows best?"
Ockenfels' observation was made in response to the arrest on Friday of two
alleged local drug traffickers. Robert Harford, 43, of Rockport and William
Burns, 45, of Rockland were both arrested as part of an ongoing undercover
drug investigation by city police and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Harford was charged with aggravated trafficking in marijuana and destroying
evidence, and Burns was charged with aggravated trafficking in marijuana
and violation of the conditions of bail. At the time of their arrest, both
men were free on bail awaiting trial on other drug trafficking charges,
Ockenfels said.

Harford was arrested at 5:30 p.m. after undercover officers observed a drug
deal at the Rockland Industrial Park. When Rockland police attempted to
stop his vehicle on Talbot Avenue after Harford left the industrial park,
Harford accelerated and was observed throwing a bulky article into a field.

The discarded package turned out to be a quarter pound of marijuana.

Acting on information obtained during the Harford investigation, city
police obtained a search warrant for Burns' Payson Avenue home and raided
the residence at 8:30 p.m. Inside the officers found 1 pound of marijuana
and an undisclosed amount of cash. Ockenfels said police discovered an
"elaborate" marijuana cultivating operation in an outbuilding on Burns'

Ockenfels said he was disturbed by the amount of drug activity in Rockland
and commended the City Council for its decision to fund an undercover drug
officer for the city. He cautioned that unless more funds were made
available for drug interdiction, the problem would continue to escalate.

"What troubles me is we say there is a war on drugs and I see very little
effort being made to combat drug trafficking," Ockenfels said. "On the
state level, MDEA is doing a stellar job, but we need more assistance from
Washington. We need to step up to the plate and get the federal government
to give us some assistance at the local level.

All law enforcement agencies need to dedicate funds and personnel if we are
going to do anything to combat drug dealers.

Here in Rockland we will continue to pursue drug dealers relentlessly."

Harford and Burns were booked at the Knox County Jail following their
arrests. Harford was released a few hours later on $500 bail. Bail for
Burns was set at $50,000, with one surety, or 20 percent cash.

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Checked-by: Mike Gogulski