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Criminal Mischief - (02-10-2016)

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Black Black Courtesy of Maine Public Safety

Man who fled crash turns self in

MANCHESTER The man Maine State Police were looking for after he reportedly fled from a high speed chase and crashed turned himself into authorities.

On Feb. 4, a car driven by Steven N. Black crashed after being involved in two high-speed chases with both State and Winthrop Police. Police had been looking for Black after troopers tracked along the shore and on the ice of Cobbossee Lake for several hours early that morning. The tracks then led back to the Pond Road.

A state trooper first attempted to pull Black's car over on Route 202 in Manchester and after it reached speeds of over 100 miles per hour, the trooper broke off the pursuit. Later, Winthrop Police attempted to stop the car along Routes 135 and 202 and officers lost track of the car on the Pond Road. A short time later, troopers found the Pontiac Grand Am had crashed into a tree on a nearby camp road near the West Gardiner town line. With the help of a State Police dog, troopers followed tracks along and on the ice of Cobbossee Lake for over five miles.

Black faces a number of charges, including operating after suspension of his driver's license, eluding a police officer and driving to endanger.

Cops shine light on theft

CHINA Maine State Police Thursday arrested three residents of a home in Edgecomb and charged them in connection with a theft from a store in China, Maine three days before Christmas.

Lt. Aaron Hayden said the trio stole grow lights from Laverdiere's General Store and then traded the items for heroin hours later.

On Feb. 4, police arrested at their home on McKay Road in Edgecomb Mark James, 49; Lisa Gosselin, 40; and Tricia Barry, 42, all of Edgecomb. All are charged with theft by unauthorized taking or transfer.

Barry also had two unrelated arrest warrants issued for her out of Kennebec County.

Assisting with the arrests and a search of their home were drug agents from MDEA and Lincoln County Deputies. The trio was taken to the Two Bridges Jail in Wiscasset. The theft took place on Dec. 22, 2015, and the value of the grow lights was over $500.

The lights have not been recovered.

Rockland child porn arrest

ROCKLAND The Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit arrested a Rockland man and charged him with possessing child pornography.

Jarrod Bergeron, 32, was arrested at his home and was taken to the Knox County Jail. Detectives began investigating Bergeron late last year after receiving a tip. His home was searched on Dec. 15, and his computers were taken back to the computer crime unit's offices in Vassalboro to be analyzed.

That exam revealed 130 sexually explicit images of 37 children under the age of 12. Bergeron's court date will be March 21. Assisting in the investigation were Homeland Security and Rockland Police. Bergeron has been employed as a cook in Camden.

New York man arrested for trafficking Oxy

WOODLAND A Brooklyn, New York man was arrested Friday in Woodland following an investigation by MDEA into importation of Oxycodone into Aroostook County.

Over the past several weeks, MDEA's Aroostook Task Force in Houlton has been investigating a group responsible for distributing Oxy in greater Caribou. During the investigation agents were able to identify a man from Brooklyn as being the source for several hundred Oxycodone pills to this area on a monthly basis.

On Jan. 29, agents arrested Michael Trader, 30, after he arrived in the county from New York with more pills. Trader has been charged with two counts of class B unlawful trafficking in schedule W drugs (Oxycodone) and class D falsifying physical evidence. The latter charge was filed because Trader destroyed evidence during the time investigators were attempting to take him into custody. Seized in connection with this investigation were 200 Oxycodone tablets with a street value of $6,000.

Trader is currently being held at the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton where bail has been set at $25,000 in cash or $75,000 surety.

The MDEA was assisted by the Aroostook County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Homeland Security Investigations. This investigation is continuing and more arrests are possible.

Attorney General Mills and Federal Trade Commission take joint enforcement action against Maine weight-loss pill dealer

AUGUSTA Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills and the Federal Trade Commission have acted to halt the sale and marketing of weight-loss pills 'AF Plus' and 'Final Trim' and other dietary supplements sold by 'Direct Alternatives' and other companies owned by Anthony and Staci Dill of Scarborough. The federal court complaint details deceptive practices by the Dills' companies in advertising weight-loss products and charging consumers for unauthorized products and services, in violation of state and federal law. The Dills agreed to a settlement with the State of Maine and the FTC, which has now been signed by a federal judge.

'This company preyed on the vulnerability of consumers who seek a legitimate weight loss program,' said Attorney General Mills. 'The conduct here is not limited to making false claims about their products; it also includes charging consumers hundreds of dollars in automatic monthly orders and making it very difficult for customers to cancel orders or get their money back. The Maine Attorney General's Office is grateful to the FTC for the resources and assistance it brought to this case.'

One radio ad for the company's products claimed, 'With the metabolism-boosting benefits of AF Plus, you can keep eating your favorite foods and STILL lose pounds and inches in fact we guarantee it!' Other ads claimed consumers would 'experience maximum weight loss pounds in days.' Ads stated that these claims were 'proven,' but in fact they lacked scientific support.

'The Dills' companies told a blizzard of lies,' said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. 'They sold worthless weight-loss supplements, lied about their supposed free trial' offers, took people's money with unauthorized auto-renewal plans and made it nearly impossible to return their bogus products.'

The company promised consumers a 30-day 'risk-free trial,' but in fact the company made it difficult to cancel orders and obtain a refund. The company then billed consumers for unauthorized charges, automatically enrolling them in a monthly 'continuity plan,' billing many consumers $79.90 a month and refusing to refund money once consumers found the weight-loss pills were ineffective.

When consumers called to order AF Plus and Final Trim, they were also deceived by 'upsells' which repeatedly promised consumers $80 in Walmart or Target gift cards for enrolling in trial memberships in two 'buying clubs.' However, consumers did not receive the full value of the gift cards and instead confronted a complicated process to receive even a fraction of the value of the gift cards.

The settlement permanently enjoins the Dills from engaging in practices in the future and requires them to forfeit some of their ill-gotten gains. This case is the first joint enforcement action that the State of Maine has brought with the Federal Trade Commission for violations of state and federal law. On Jan. 15, 2016 the FTC Commissioners voted in favor of filing the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine.

Attorney General Mills thanked Assistant Attorney General Brendan O'Neil for his efforts in this case and the FTC for their cooperation and assistance.

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