BAR HARBOR — A shoplifting complaint from a hardware store led to a joint investigation by Bar Harbor police and drug agents that resulted in the arrest Monday of two men accused of making methamphetamine.
Joseph Schaefer, 23, of Mount Desert was arrested on a charge of class B trafficking in methamphetamine. Zachary Rand, 25, of Southwest Harbor was arrested on a charge of class A aggravated trafficking in methamphetamine. According to law enforcement officials, Rand’s charge was elevated to aggravated trafficking due to a previous drug conviction.
Schaefer and Rand came to the attention of Bar Harbor police when they received a report of suspected shoplifters at Paradis True Value Hardware store.
Schaefer was in a Jeep Liberty parked in the store’s lot when police arrived, according to Lieutenant Dave Kerns. Schaefer, whose driver’s license is under suspension, got out of the vehicle when he saw the police cruiser and left the scene, Kerns said.
An officer later spotted Schaefer walking nearby and stopped him. He was on bail from an earlier charge and subject to random search and testing for drugs, Kerns said. Rand was in possession of a small amount of what police believe to be heroin and he was arrested on a charge of unlawful possession of drugs, Kerns said.
Rand was found hiding in the back seat of the Jeep. He was arrested on warrants charging him with failure to appear in court.
There is no evidence the men had taken items from the store, Kerns said. However, the suspicion that methamphetamine was being made by the “one-pot” method inside the Jeep led Bar Harbor police to call in the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency (MDEA).
According to a joint press release from Chief Jim Willis of the Bar Harbor Police Department and MDEA Commander Peter Arno, members of MDEA’s Downeast District Task Force responded. It had the Jeep towed to a safe location while a search warrant was obtained. On Tuesday morning, MDEA’s clandestine lab team seized one gram of the methamphetamine and evidence typical of what is used to make the drug by the “one-pot” method.
Making methamphetamine by this method involves mixing various substances inside a plastic soda bottle. Hazardous chemicals and toxic fumes are produced, making the manufacturing process and its byproducts highly dangerous.
As a result of evidence found in the Jeep, Schaefer and Rand additionally were charged with trafficking in methamphetamine. As of Wednesday morning, they remained in custody at the Hancock County Jail.
Police noted that the investigation continues and more arrests are probable.