Drug arrest for fentanyl

TRENTON — A 29-year-old resident picked up by police Sept. 1 on an outstanding arrest warrant also was charged with unlawful trafficking in drugs.

Joshua Starbird originally was arrested by the sheriff’s department on a warrant charging him with failure to appear in court on a theft charge after Deputy Travis Frost found Starbird at his home. The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency (MDEA) subsequently charged the Trenton man with Class B drug trafficking.

MDEA agents in Hancock County have had their eye on Starbird for some time and made at least one undercover purchase from him, according to MDEA supervisory agent Corey Bagley.

The drug, while being sold as heroin, turned out to be fentanyl, a synthetic opiate that can be 50 times stronger than heroin. Fentanyl, which is less expensive than heroin, often is mixed with the latter drug, a trend that has led to a spike in overdoses and deaths locally and nationwide.

“We’re seeing fentanyl all the time,” Bagley said.

Fentanyl not only puts the drug user at risk, the drug also makes it more dangerous for drug agents. Even if a small amount of the powder becomes airborne and is inhaled or absorbed through the skin, the consequences can be deadly. In many parts of the country, police officers have begun carrying the overdose-reversal drug Narcan to protect themselves from accidental ingestion. So far, agents in Hancock County have not been issued Narcan, Bagley said.

Another synthetic opiate, carfentanil, has become a worry for law enforcement. Carfentanil, which is used in the treatment of livestock and elephants, can be as much as 100 times as powerful as fentanyl. So far, Bagley said, carfentanil has not shown up in Hancock County.

Class B crimes are punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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