DEREK GERRISH booking photo


06-16-2020 Submitted by Chief Tony L. Milligan

Drugs seized from Monday's arrest

For the second time in four months, Rumford Police and Maine Drug Enforcement Agency arrested DEREK A. GERRISH, 30 of Sanford, Maine, this time for Aggravated Trafficking in Scheduled Drugs, Class A felony, Possession of a Firearm By A Prohibited Person, Class C felony and three counts of Violation of Conditions of Release, Class E misdemeanor.

For several months, in response to community members reporting concerns of ongoing drug trafficking ocurring in their neighborhood, Rumford Police have been conducting covert surveillance and gathering intelligence to build a case sufficient to disrupt the reported drug trafficking activity at 500 Knox Street in Rumford. The investigation revealed that the Knox Street residence had become a popular location to buy drugs. Rumford PD reached out to the Maine State Police and Maine Drug Enforcement Agency to form a partnership to best handle the community problem.

On Monday, June 15, Rumford Police, Maine State Police and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency conducted surveillance of 500 Knox Street and conducted traffic stops of vehicles coming from the residence. The Rumford PD K9 Team was utilized to conduct drug sniffs of vehicles suspected of being utilized to transport drugs. One such vehicle stopped in Rumford was being operated by DEREK GERRISH. Shortly after stopping his vehicle, MDEA Agents, Maine State Police Troopers and Rumford PD officers executed a search warrant at 500 Knox Street. The evidence seized from the traffic stop of Gerrish's vehicle and the residence on Knox Street included approximately 300 doses of suspected fentanyl, 3 grams of methamphetamine, 24 Suboxone, LSD, scales, two pistols, a bulletproof vest and $1,831 in suspected drug proceeds. DEREK GERRISH was arrested, booked at Rumford and later transported to the Oxford County Jail. While being booked at Rumford PD, GERRISH became emotionally volatile and damaged the booking room. He was additionally charged with Criminal Mischief. Another individual found at the Knox Street residence, CHELSEA DAGGETT, 28 years old from Mexico, ME was also arrested and charged initially with theft. Additional charges relating to the drug investigation are under review and may be brought later once the investigation is completed.

This is not the first time Rumford PD or the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency have dealt with DEREK GERRISH.

On February 12, Rumford Police stopped GERRISH for a traffic violation in town and found GERRISH and his female passenger, 26 year old SHANDA MURPHY of Berwick, Maine both in possession of methamphetmaine. GERRISH and MURPHY had provided false identity information to the officer during the traffic stop, but eventually the officer confirmed MURPHY's true identitiy and learned that she was on bail for from another jurisdiction and had a warrant out for her arrest for unpaid fines for a theft conviction. A search of the vehicle revealed additional methamphetamine, dozens of hypodermic syringes and a locked safe. The Rumford PD K9 Team was called in to assist with the investigation and was instrumental in providing the probable cause needed to apply for a search warrant to open the safe. GERRISH and his passenger were arrested and the safe was seized pending the application for a search warrant. As the investigation continued, Rumford Police learned that GERRISH had been previously been arrested in 2015 for felony heroin trafficking as a result of a Maine Drug Enforcement Agency investigation in York County and had been convicted and served his sentence. GERRISH and MURPHY were transported to the Oxford County Jail and later released on bail by the Court.

After obtaining a search warrant from the Court for the safe, Rumford Police seized an additional gram of methamphetamine, nearly 250 doses of suspected fentanyl, 8 methadone tablets, 24 suboxone strips, a strip of LSD (not yet perforated for individual use or sale), two sets of digital scales, and $3,580 in suspected drug proceeds. Additional charges of felony drug trafficking against GERRISH and possibly MURPHY are expected to be brought once the case is presented to the Grand Jury.

Chief Tony Milligan of the Rumford Police credits these recent arrests to the cooperation his department has received from the public. "We work very hard to improve the quality of life to the residents of Rumford. That means we conduct surveillances, gather information and evidence to built the best case we can to disrupt and hopefully dismantle drug trafficking operations that are all too often originating from out of state in our community. Fostering partnerships with other agencies is crutial because of our limited resources and having a certified drug K9 Team on the department certainly helps with that mission."

Chief Milligan pointed out that citizens often express frustration with the police for not being able to rush in and make arrests whenever a drug tip is reported. "With my nearly 30 years of experience as a drug enforcement agent prior to becoming Chief of Police, I can tell you that in order to be effective, the case needs to be solid, otherwise you're wasting time and resources. Quality investigations that will have a positive impact in the community takes time and a committment from officers to be patient and do a thorough investigation. Rumford is fortunate to have a strong team of officers who live in and care for their community. I am proud of my department for the work they do each and every day."

Rumford PD welcomes information from the public to help combat criminal activity in their neighborhood. Reports can be made anonymously online at www.rumfordpd.com, by sending a direct-message by Facebook Messenger, or by calling 207-364-3449. "We have always worked well with the community to try to make things safer and better, together. Drug trafficking and drug addiction is a complicated issue that cannot be sucessfully resolved by the police alone. There are a lot of moving parts, from education to treatment to enforcement and more. We all need to work together to combat this cancer."

February seizure from GERRISH and MURPHY