A Trenton woman arrested Friday on federal drug trafficking and firearms charges could face a life sentence related to her role in a drug ring that brought fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine from Massachusetts to eastern Maine, according to court documents.

The FBI is accusing Shelby Kleffman, 31, of participating in the drug ring that brought large quantities of the drugs to eastern Maine. Federal law enforcement on Friday identified Kleffman and two Massachusetts men — Armani Minier-Tejada, 22, of Salem, and Miguel Minier, 55, of Lynn — as being part of the alleged drug distribution ring.

Kleffman and Minier-Tejada were arrested Friday in Maine and appeared Monday morning via video before a federal judge in Maine. Minier-Tejada’s case was moved to federal court in Massachusetts, while Kleffman’s initial appearance was continued to an unspecified date. Minier remains wanted on an FBI arrest warrant, according to federal prosecutors.

Shelby Kleffman of Trenton. Credit: Courtesy of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office

All three have been charged with drug trafficking, while Minier-Tejada and Kleffman also have been charged with possession of firearms in support of the alleged drug trafficking scheme. In an affidavit filed in federal court, the FBI alleges that Minier-Tejada and other co-conspirators from Massachusetts who are not publicly identified made trips to Maine “to deliver controlled substances to Maine drug contacts and obtain firearms for transport to Massachusetts.”

The FBI said Kleffman and Minier-Tejada discussed in text conversations the importance of carrying firearms and the possibility of using guns to harm or intimidate a rival drug gang in Maine that may include a person who is related to a man accused of shooting Kleffman’s father. Videos on phones seized by the FBI from alleged conspirators in the drug ring show Minier-Tejada and other unnamed participants discharging weapons in the woods during a trip to Maine, according to federal officials.

Kleffman and Minier-Tejada allegedly discussed drug transactions by text, citing quantities and price — including one sale of 235 grams of fentanyl for $115,000. According to the FBI, Minier-Tejada and Minier often provided drugs to Kleffman up front with the understanding that she would repay them later at a pre-agreed price.

In this cell phone photo, seized as evidence by the FBI, Armani Minier-Tejada, 22, of Salem, Massachusetts, allegedly fires a pistol somewhere in the woods in Maine on June 30, 2020, while a co-conspirator who has not been publicly identified  fires another pistol behind him. Credit: Courtesy of FBI

Earlier this month, the two Massachusetts men and others suspected to be involved in the drug ring rented a house in Bangor through an online vacation home rental service and used it as a place for Kleffman to pick up drug deliveries, according to the FBI. Over a span of five days, Kleffman is accused of making three trips to the Bangor property from her home in Trenton to conduct drug transactions with the group, according to court documents.

Last summer, when Minier-Tejada and an unnamed co-conspirator were stopped in a vehicle in Maine en route to Massachusetts, police found six firearms in a hidden compartment in the vehicle, including a Sig Sauer pistol that matches the appearance of a gun Minier-Tejada can be seen shooting in one of the videos. In January of this year, a co-conspirator unnamed in federal court documents was found in Massachusetts in possession of a semi-automatic gun with a selector switch attachment that enabled the gun to be used as a fully-automatic machine gun, according to the FBI.

It is not clear from court documents whether the guns described in the affidavit were obtained in Maine or somewhere else.

According to court documents, Kleffman could face life in federal prison if she is found guilty of possessing firearms in support of a drug trafficking conspiracy and if one of the guns used or possessed as part of that conspiracy is classified as a machine gun.

Without a machine gun being involved, Kleffman faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the gun possession conspiracy charge. If she is found guilty on the drug trafficking conspiracy charge, she faces an additional 20 years in prison and an additional $1 million fine.

In late December, around the same time Kleffman allegedly was communicating with Minier-Tejada about guns and drug deals, a Milbridge couple allegedly forced their way into Kleffman’s home and stole two safes containing thousands of dollars in cash. Kleffman was not home at the time, police have said.

Larry Smith, 51, is accused of shooting two men during the alleged robbery while Sherry Smith, 49, is accused of trying to stab a third man and one of the men who was shot. Both are facing charges of attempted murder and robbery.

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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....