Seven people, including a Baileyville woman on federal probation for fentanyl possession, have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a drug distribution scheme in Hancock and Washington counties.

Kayla Thistlewood, 27, of Baileyville was arrested Jan. 12 after police stopped a car she was driving on Route 182 in Cherryfield, according to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. Riding in her car was Franz Morris of New Bedford, Massachusetts, who police say had 74 grams of cocaine, 36.9 grams of cocaine base and 6.1 grams of fentanyl with him in the car.

For several weeks, police had been investigating a drug distribution ring based in New Bedford that has been bringing significant quantities of cocaine, cocaine base and heroin/fentanyl to Hancock and Washington counties, police said Tuesday. Dealers from Massachusetts have been traveling to Maine and selling drugs from homes in the area in exchange for money or drugs, police said.

Thistlewood was on federal probation as a result of an August 2020 incident in which Maine drug agents found her in possession of 263 grams of fentanyl, 43.1 grams of cocaine and 41.8 grams of cocaine base. A dose of just roughly 3 milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal. Thistlewood allegedly had more than 87,000 times that amount of fentanyl when she was arrested last summer.

Thistlewoood was arrested Jan. 12 on behalf of the United States Probation and Parole Office for violating her probation. Morris was arrested on a felony drug trafficking charge.

In the days after Thistlewood’s car was stopped by police, officers executed three search warrants in Cherryfield, Columbia and Milbridge. As a result of those search warrants, police arrested Matthew Small, 42, of Cherryfield; David Seale, 36, of New Bedford; and Cole Kennedy, 35, of Milbridge on felony drug trafficking charges.

On Monday, police also arrested Jonathan Johnson, 37, of Columbia on a felony drug trafficking charge. Bailey Bryant, 24, of Jonesboro was arrested as part of the sweep on a misdemeanor charge of violating conditions of release. All seven were taken to the Washington County Jail in Machias following their arrests.

Additional arrests are expected, police said.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....