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2 pounds of fentanyl among seizures in Sanford drug stop

Police say a Sanford man was regularly traveling out of state to buy fentanyl and methamphetamine to sell in York County.

SANFORD, Maine — Police have charged a Sanford man with felony drug trafficking after allegedly finding 2 pounds of fentanyl and other drugs in his car during a traffic stop Thursday.

Andrew Hanson, 36, remained at York County Jail on Friday, held on $25,000 cash bail, Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Commander Scott Pelletier said in a release.

Hanson is charged with Class A felony trafficking in Schedule W drugs. The charge was elevated because of the volume of the drugs. Pelletier said in addition to the fentanyl, police found 165 grams of methamphetamine, bringing the street value of the drugs seized by police to more than $155,000.

The arrest comes as the deadly synthetic opioid continues to infiltrate the state. Fentanyl is inexpensive to manufacture and is often used to dilute other street drugs. It's often present in overdose deaths, which increased by 23 percent in 2021.

The Portland Press Herald reported in January that the growing number of overdose deaths is related to fentanyl being laced into other drugs without the user's knowledge.

"By any standards anywhere in the U.S., a kilo seizure is significant," MDEA Northern Commander Peter Arno told NEWS CENTER Maine on Friday. "But this isn't the first kilo seizure in Maine over the past year or so. It's a sign of the significance of the growing problem."

Thursday's traffic stop resulted from an ongoing investigation by the MDEA and Sanford police into a fentanyl and methamphetamine ring operating in the greater Sanford area, Pelletier said.

Police allege Hanson made regular trips out of state and returned to sell the drugs in York County. Police allegedly spotted his vehicle crossing from New Hampshire into Maine on Thursday and followed him to Sanford.

Arno said fentanyl is being sold largely by out-of-state traffickers all over the state. 

Just last month, a Massachusetts man pleaded guilty in federal court to drug and weapons offenses as part of what prosecutors said was a "long-running conspiracy" to distribute large quantities of fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine base (crack cocaine) between Boston and Bangor.

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