03/04/2021 Drug Arrest

Couple arrested for selling Fentanyl in school zone. Over 500 doses and $3,640 in proceeds seized.

March 4, 2021 - RUMFORD - Late Thursday morning, Rumford Police, assisted by Troopers from the Maine State Police, agents from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, and agents from the U.S. Border Patrol executed a search warrant at 58 Kerr Street in Rumford to search for evidence of ongoing Fentanyl trafficking occurring at the single-family home. As a result of the search, approximately 43 grams of suspected Fentanyl, along with digital drug scales, packaging materials and $3,640 in suspected drug proceeds were seized. Suspects MATTHEW BELLEGARDE age 38, and his live-in companion SHANNON LONG age 28, were both arrested without incident at their home and charged with Aggravated Trafficking in Fentanyl, a Class A felony.

For months, the Rumford Police and drug investigators have been receiving information from a number of sources including community members, of an inordinate amount of traffic coming in and out of 58 Kerr Street in Rumford, a single-family home in the Virginia-section of Rumford. Police had also learned that MATTHEW BELLEGARDE and his girlfriend SHANNON LONG had been selling Fentanyl out of the home. Rumford Police, working closely with officers from the Maine State Police and Maine Drug Enforcement Agency combined resources and conducted a 2-month investigation to gather evidence and information needed for a search warrant. "My officers spent a considerable amount of time conducting surveillance to see first-hand the incredible amount of traffic going to the BELLEGARDE-LONG residence. It looked as ridiculous as a drive-thru fast food establishment at times!", Chief Milligan stated. "The information we had received from concerned community members, combined with our surveillance, was instrumental in us being able to disrupt, and hopefully dismantle this particular drug trafficking operation."

The amount of the deadly drug known as Fentanyl that was seized from the home represents over 500 individual dosage units of the drug, which has an estimated street value of over $15,000.00. This amount of Fentanyl is significant for the Town of Rumford and carries a severe penalty if convicted. Under state law, selling or possessing with the intent to sell 6 grams or more of Fentanyl constitutes a Class A crime - Maine's highest class crime - which is punishable up to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. In this particular case, BELLEGARDE and LONG possessed more than 7 times the quantity needed to meet the Class A threshold. Another factor of the case is the fact that the drug operation was occurring approximately 850 feet from the Pennecook Learning Center. Maine Law provides for enhanced punishment for defendants trafficking in drugs within 1000 feet of any school or designated safe zone. Pennecook Learning Center falls within this protected area.

Because of the seriousness of the charges, BELLEGARDE and LONG were held without bail and transported to the Oxford County Jail to await their initial court appearance. Additional charges are expected to be filed against BELLEGARDE and LONG after a special prosecutor from the Attorney General's Office reviews the case. In the meantime, Rumford Police is committed to ridding the community of this dangerous drug and will continue the investigation in an effort to bring others involved to justice.

"It take a collaborative effort between citizens and the police to successfully combat drug trafficking in our community. We cannot do this alone. Fentanyl costs us too many lives to remain silent. Because of its highly addictive qualities, low cost, and high profitability, it is a crime that many commit, despite the risks. If you or someone you know has information about the sale and distribution of this drug, please contact the Rumford Police at 364-4551 or leave a tip online at www.rumfordpd.com . Your help may very well save a life! If you or someone you know are struggling with substance use, there are OPTIONS - contact our collaborative partners at Oxford County Mental Health at 364-3549 for help."