A Bradford man who was caught with over 3 pounds of fentanyl received his sentence this week.

Who Was Sentenced?

Kristopher Churchill, 40, was in a Bangor courtroom this week, facing charges connected to a traffic stop in Augusta over a year ago. WGME-TV reports Churchill pleaded guilty to possession of fentanyl before receiving his sentence of 2 1/2 years in prison. The judge also ordered 3 years of supervised release, once he gets out.

How Was He Caught?

In April of 2021, a vehicle containing Churchill and Erick Mejia, 26, of Lawrence, Massachusetts was stopped on I-95 in Augusta just before midnight. Maine State Trooper Tyler Harrington said he pulled the vehicle over because it was showing some sort of defect. During that stop, the Trooper observed evidence of suspicious activities and decided to call in a narcotics K9 to search the vehicle. As a result, police seized approximately 1.5 Kilos (3.3 pounds) of fentanyl and $3,200 in cash. Both Churchill and Mejia were placed under arrest, charged with class A trafficking in fentanyl.

According to Maine Drug Enforcement Agency's Drug Data website, fentanyl is the leading cause of drug overdose deaths, either used in combination with other drugs or when used alone. Fentanyl works faster than other opioids, so there is a smaller window of time for emergency crews to attempt resuscitation with Naloxone. Often drug users are not aware that the substance they're taking contains fentanyl and so they will take a lethal dose accidentally.

To put it in perspective, the Drug Enforcement Agency says 2 mg of fentanyl is considered a lethal dose. That's about the equivalent of five grains of sand.

What If I Suspect Someone of Trafficking in Drugs?

Anyone with information about the illicit sale of drugs in their community is urged to contact the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency office closest to them, by texting MDEA to TIP411 (847411), or by calling the MDEA Tip-Line at 1-800-452-6457.

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