CARIBOU, Maine — A local man was arrested on April 4 for trafficking methamphetamine (meth), after law enforcement officials located significant evidence of a clandestine meth manufacturing operation at his residence on the Old Washburn Road.
Keith Tingley Jr, 47, of Caribou is charged with Class B trafficking of methamphetamine, but was released from the Aroostook County Jail the morning after his arrest when he was able to produce the $20,000 cash bail that was ordered for the trafficking and other unrelated charges. He is next scheduled to appear at the Caribou Courthouse on Tuesday, April 22.
Tingley’s arrest and subsequent meth trafficking charges stem from an unrelated encounter with the State Police on April 3, as explained by Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Commander Peter Arno.
State Police officers arrived at the residence late at night on April 3 for an outstanding arrest warrant on Tingley; when State Police returned the following morning to execute a search warrant, they found what they believed to be a meth lab.
As explained in an MDEA press release, the suspected “one pot” lab was located in a crawl space underneath the mobile home. Law enforcement officers vacated the residence and notified members of MDEA’s Clandestine Drug Laboratory Enforcement Team immediately upon discovery of the suspected lab. Utilizing information provided on scene by Maine State Police personnel, in addition to other independent information, MDEA agents were able to obtained a separate search warrant; that second search warrant was executed at approximately 7 p.m. on April 4, during which agents seized a significant amount of evidence that is consistent with the illicit manufacturing of methamphetamine.
While Tingley was charged with trafficking methamphetamine, Arno explained it in layman’s terms: “If someone is manufacturing meth, under the current statute it’s called ‘trafficking.’”
This is the 10th time this year MDEA personnel have responded to a methamphetamine lab-related incident, and which Arno confirmed was higher than normal.
On this lab alone, the MDEA’s CDLET was assisted at the scene by the Maine State Police, the Caribou Police Department, the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Department and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and Arno explained that an increased interdepartmental cooperation has led to the increased number of meth lab arrests and seizures.
“Over the past couple of years, we started doing a lot more training with first responders — fire departments, police departments, EMT’s — who before may have been in the presence of a meth lab and didn’t know what it was,” Arno said. Placing an increased emphasis on providing training to first responders around the state, MDEA officials have spread awareness about certain types of precursory materials that are necessary in the manufacturing of methamphetamines.
“(Camping fuel) next to a blister pack of cold medicine may not mean a lot to someone who hasn’t had the training, but for someone who has, it’s the sign of a meth lab,” noted Arno.