An Auburn man is in custody after a crate addressed to a local restaurant, with his name on the label, was found to contain $3 million worth of fentanyl.

Where Were the Drugs Discovered?

Auburn Police say the drugs were discovered when they were delivered in a large wooden crate to a local restaurant on Friday, April 28th. The delivery was addressed to the restaurant and came from Arizona. Employees of the business thought the package probably contained mugs they had recently ordered and so they opened the crate. Inside they found a plastic tote containing what they believed to be a significant amount of illegal drugs. On the tote was a shipping label with the restaurant's address and a contact name of Jeremy Mercier. He is not an employee of the business.

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The police were called to the restaurant just after 12:30 Friday afternoon to examine the tote. They took the container to the police department and conducted a field examination, confirming that the substance inside was fentanyl. The street value of the 14 kilos of fentanyl is estimated to be more than $3 million dollars.

How Was the Suspect Found?

About an hour later, police took Jeremy Mercier into custody when he showed up at the restaurant, asking about his package. The 41-year-old was out on pre-conviction bail, at the time, for an unrelated criminal charge. He has a federal conviction from 2007 for the distribution of cocaine and had served several years in federal prison. When he was arrested, police seized approximately $2,780 from him which is believed to be drug proceeds.

What Charges Does He Face?

Mercier was taken to the Androscoggin County Jail. He's charged with:

  • Aggravated illegal importation of scheduled drugs
  • Aggravated trafficking of scheduled drugs
  • Violation of conditional release

He's being held without bail.

Officials say this is an active and ongoing investigation and it's expected other state and federal agencies will be contributing, as it continues.

If you suffer from substance use disorder, call 211 or text your zip code to 898-211 for a list of resources in your area.

Anyone with information about this investigation or the illegal sale of drugs in their community is encouraged to contact the Maine Drug Enforcement office closest to them. Information can also be relayed by texting MDEA to TIP411 (847411) or by calling the MDEA tip-line at 1-800-452-6457.

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