Fort Fairfield man accused of animal cruelty now faces drug trafficking charges

1 month ago

A Fort Fairfield man who was out on bail for alleged animal cruelty has been arrested on drug trafficking charges.

Daniel Bernaiche, 50, was charged on Tuesday when police arrived at his home for a bail check and found drug paraphernalia in plain sight, according to Fort Fairfield Police Chief Matthew Cummings.

Officers obtained a search warrant and seized 21.3 grams of methamphetamine, 3.4 grams of fentanyl and 1.6 grams of cocaine, along with two guns, Cummings said.

Bernaiche was charged with four counts of aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs, having a firearm when he wasn’t permitted to have one, and violating conditions of his prior bail, the chief said. 


Bernaiche was taken to the Aroostook County Jail and attended his arraignment at Presque Isle District Court via video. New bail was set at $7,500 in cash with restrictions. 

Bernaiche has not yet made bail and remains in jail, Cummings said.  

Bernaiche had earlier been released on $5,000 bail stemming from animal cruelty charges in January.

Police arrested Bernaiche and Christina Wilcox, 42, of Fort Fairfield on Jan. 11 after rescuing eight pit bull dogs from what Cummings called “deplorable conditions” at the time. The dogs were severely emaciated and covered with wounds, and two puppies were found dead.

Bernaiche and Wilcox were charged with 12 counts of aggravated animal cruelty.  

Trafficking is a Class A crime for which, if found guilty, he could receive up to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine, according to the Maine Attorney General’s office. The gun charge is a Class C crime punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, and violating conditions of release is Class E, which could mean up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.