Police make ‘one of the largest’ meth busts in downtown Madawaska

Don Eno, Special to The County
7 years ago

MADAWASKA, Maine — Police charged a Madawaska couple, Tuesday, April 18, with operating a methamphetamine lab inside their home at 507 Main Street, according to a press release from Maine Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland.

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, working with Madawaska Police, arrested Carl and Casie Thibeault Tuesday afternoon and charged them with aggravated trafficking in methamphetamine, aggravated operation of a meth lab and endangering the welfare of a child. The couple’s two young children, whose ages and names were not given in the release, also lived at the house.

Drug agents said this is “one of the largest meth labs MDEA has encountered,” according McCausland’s statement, which was released Wednesday afternoon.

Seized from inside the home was a “considerable amount of materials” used to make the drug, including a quantity of meth and more than 80 containers that had allegedly been used to make the highly addictive drug, according to police.

Carl Thibeault, 36, was taken to the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton and his 34-year-old wife was released on bail. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services were called to assist in placing the couple’s two children into a safe location.

Police secured the home Tuesday evening last week after the alleged lab was discovered, to await the arrival of the MDEA mobile meth lab team, which arrived in Madawaska late Wednesday morning.

Madawaska Town Manager Ryan D. Pelletier, who was traveling out of state last week, declined to comment on the arrests, saying only that it was being handled by the MDEA.

“We’re part of the world. We’re not immune to what goes on out there,” said Fort Kent Town Manager Donald Guimond, following the arrests in Madawaska. “We’re not immune to the drug epidemic in the state. This is a concern and it should be.”

MDEA mobile lab team members are specially trained to gather evidence following the discovery of a potential meth lab. Wearing protective suits and breathing apparatus, they began their work shortly after their arrival last week.

“Anytime we have an incident like this where drug manufacturing is occurring in a residence with children, my blood boils,” said Aroostook County Sheriff Darrell Crandall. “Having been directly involved in the seizure of hundreds of drug labs myself since 1990, I have seen up close all of the associated dangers and their devastating impact on families. I commend the great work done by the sheriff’s deputies and local police officers assigned to MDEA who were responsible for this successful investigation.”

Also assisting the drug agency were the Madawaska Police and Fire Departments, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Aroostook Sheriff’s Office and the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

This is the 15th meth-related response by MDEA this year, according to McCausland. In 2016 the agency responded to 125 meth-related incidents.

Editor’s note: Staff Writer Jessica Potila contributed to this story.