Maine Governor Paul LePage got into trouble for saying that black gang members from New York City were coming to his state, selling drugs and “impregnating white women.” He was right about the drug part because two Rockaway men were recently convicted of selling drugs and another of murder in a drug deal gone wrong.
Rockaway resident Anthony Pratt, Jr., flanked by his defense team, recently lost an appeal on a murder conviction and will spend the next few decades in a Maine prison.
Maine Governor Paul LePage got in trouble with the press and his more liberal colleagues last week for commenting about drug dealers flooding the state and impregnating “white girls,” which his critics said had “a racist tone.” He blamed the media for taking his words out of context.
“My brain was slower than my mouth,” LePage, a Republican, told reporters at the state house in Augusta. “The take-away is this: I don’t really care what the press thinks about me. But I want the drug dealers to know: I’m after them.”
In discussing the problem at a town hall meeting last week, LePage said: “These aren’t the people who take drugs. These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty – these types of guys. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave, which is a really sad thing.”
Actually, there are many in Maine, particularly those in the law enforcement area, who believe that LePage has nothing to apologize for because he is right, and a number of former Rockaway gang-bangers have already been arrested and tried in large Maine cities – not for impregnating white Maine women, but for drugs and even murder.
According to the Portland (Maine) Press Herald in an edition published on April 26 of last year, drug traffickers have found Maine is fertile ground.
The reason is simple economics.
In business – legitimate or otherwise – the laws of supply and demand hold.
Drug gangs from large cities such as New York and Boston have found that their main product – cheap Heroin – is a big hit in Maine.
A massive drug sweep in January of 2014 that resulted in the arrest of two dozen people in the Lewiston area provided a glimpse of that phenomenon.
According to the paper, the investigation established, for the first time, a concrete link between Maine and the gang-controlled drug operations in the New York City borough of Queens.
At least two of the people arrested in January after a months-long investigation have direct ties to the powerful Crips street gang in Far Rockaway, what the paper calls “a rough neighborhood in Queens.”
In that case, Jamel Hamilton, who goes by the nickname “Murder,” has been charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin. Hamilton, who was identified by police as a gang leader, was arrested nine years ago in a similar drug sweep in a Far Rockaway public housing project.
Another man, Christian Dent, who was arrested in January in Maine, was part of the same previous drug sweep. He was identified as one of Hamilton’s top lieutenants.
Most heroin that ends up in the U.S. is produced in Mexico or Colombia, where opium is abundant and the supply is controlled by powerful cartels. The biggest of those cartels, the Sinaloa, supplies heroin directly to New York, which then distributes it to other areas.
Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Director Roy McKinney said Maine, along with other northern New England states, is being targeted by urban dealers for obvious reasons: A dealer can sell a gram of heroin in Maine for as much as three times what it would bring in New York.
“There was a time in Maine where you would see heroin smuggled in that was packaged for sale,” McKinney said. “That day is no longer. Now we see bulk heroin, and it’s being milled and packaged here. There’s simply more money to be made than in the saturated Greater New York market, and the dealers know that.”
McKinney said that last year, 17 percent of all drug traffickers his agents arrested were not Maine residents.
“It used to be that Maine dealers would leave the state to get their supply and bring it back,” he said. “Now, these larger (drug) organizations are coming here or having people come here.”
Another Rockaway drug dealer was arrested in 2012 for murder involved with a drug deal gone wrong.
Just last week, The Maine Supreme Judicial Court denied the appeal of convicted murderer Anthony Pratt Jr., who fatally shot a woman in the neck in Portland (Maine) and left her body in the back of her SUV in a motel parking lot.
Pratt, 22, who was a drug dealer in Rockaway before he moved north, said in his appeal that the judge in his 2014 trial should not have allowed jurors to listen to a recorded police interview in New York in which the lead detective investigating Margarita Fisenko Scott’s death repeatedly called Pratt a liar.
The panel of six justices ruled unanimously against Pratt’s appeal.
Pratt was convicted of shooting Scott, 29, on Nov. 11, 2012, in the living room of an apartment at 266 West Concord St., where he was living with a couple he knew, also from Rockaway. The Rockaway couple were not named in connection with the murder.
Police say Pratt killed Scott, cleaned up the blood and disposed of her body.
Pratt was sentenced in November of 2014 to serve 42 years in prison.