On the late afternoon of June 20th, Berlin, New Hampshire Police contacted Rumford Police and the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office requesting assistance in locating and apprehending MATTHEW MIDDAUGH, 36 of Errol, NH as they had evidence that MIDDAUGH was actively committing felony violations of a New Hampshire Court-issued Protection Order and communicating threats of violence with a gun to the protected party in Berlin. Berlin Police determined that MIDDAUGH was communicating these threats to the victim verbally and by text messages by the use of one or more cell phones from a residence on the East Bethel Road in Rumford, Maine and was allegedly planning on leaving the residence and going to New Hampshire to carry out his threats.
Berlin Police warned Rumford Police that they had dealt with MIDDAUGH in the past on a number of occasions and considered him to be aggressive, uncooperative, likely to run, and potentially armed and dangerous.
Rumford Police and Oxford County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the area of Route 232 and the East Bethel Road in Rumford Corner village to begin a search for a black Honda CRV that police had information MIDDAUGH had been operating and was planning on using to carry out his threats. The suspect’s vehicle was located in the driveway at 6 East Bethel Road, just beyond the intersection of Route 232. Because of the warnings issued by New Hampshire authorities and the nature of the crimes MIDDAUGH was suspected of actively committing, a perimeter was established to contain MIDDAUGH. Police used a cruiser’s public address system to call out the occupants of 6 East Bethel Road, but only a male and female complied, who were determined to be the renters and not MIDDAUGH. Police confirmed that MIDDAUGH was still inside, intoxicated and refusing to come out. Police also learned that MIDDAUGH had been using drugs and may have access to an air rifle inside the residence.
Rumford Police Chief Tony Milligan requested additional resources from the Maine State Police Tactical Team, including a State Police Negotiator. While waiting for their arrival, officers assigned a perimeter post observed MIDDAUGH inside the residence, yet he still refused to comply and give himself up. A State Police negotiator made contact with MIDDAUGH by cell phone and after an hour of discussions with him, MIDDAUGH agreed to cooperate and exit the residence as ordered and gave himself up peacefully to police.
Other than the negotiator who was on scene, members of the Maine State Police Tactical Team, who were responding from throughout the state were canceled while en route.
The Rumford Police K9 Team assisted officers during a security sweep of the residence and while no other occupants were found, a small quantity of drugs and paraphernalia were observed and drug-certified K9 “Niko” alerted police to the presence of additional drugs behind a closed bedroom door identified as being the bedroom used by MIDDAUGH. A search warrant was obtained prior to making entry into that bedroom.
After obtaining the search warrant, officers with Rumford Police and the Maine State Police entered the bedroom and discovered approximately 250 grams or 2,500 doses of suspected Fentanyl and other evidence to support the crime of Felony Aggravated Drug Trafficking, a Class A crime which carries a sentence upon conviction of 4 to 30 years in prison.
MIDDAUGH was transported to the Oxford County Jail and held without bail on charges of being a Fugitive From Justice and Creating A Standoff with Police. Additional charges of Aggravated Trafficking in Schedule W Drugs, Class A (resulting from the drug seizure) are expected once testing of the suspected drugs has been completed. MIDDAUGH will remain in custody pending his arraignment and a determination has been made by the Court if MIDDAUGH is eligible for bail. If the Court determines MIDDAUGH is eligible for bail, extradition proceedings will be initiated and MIDDAUGH will be transferred directly to authorities in New Hampshire to face a multitude of criminal charges there.
The standoff with MIDDAUGH lasted for a little over an hour and a half. Rumford Police Chief Tony Milligan said, “At 9:38 p.m., the standoff with the barricaded subject, MIDDAUGH, ended successfully and peacefully. It was the best possible outcome for the suspect as well as for the officers and the community. I am very pleased with the cooperation and teamwork from the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office, the Mexico Police, the Maine State Police and the Rumford Fire Department who assisted with re-routing traffic during the standoff. Nobody was injured and no property was damaged. We remained patient to allow MIDDAUGH to diffuse and consider his options while the negotiator convinced him to surrender.”
By approximately 12:30 AM, the search was completed and the police cleared the scene. No charges were brought against the homeowners/renters.
The estimated street value of the suspected Fentanyl seized from MIDDAUGH’s bedroom is nearly $100,000.