On Friday, the staff at a restaurant in Maine received the shock of their lives when they opened a box and discovered $3 million worth of fentanyl instead of the supply of new mugs they had been expecting.
Auburn police said that employees at Mac’s Grill broke up a huge wooden crate in search of the mugs their customers had ordered, but instead found a plastic tote containing 31 pounds of the lethal substance wrapped into bricks.
The shipping label on the bag indicated that it had come from Arizona; the name “Jeremy Mercier” was printed above the restaurant’s address; however, no such person was employed there. When the mysterious man returned an hour later to the restaurant to collect a parcel that had been sent in his name, the staff had already phoned the police.
In addition to the $3 million in fentanyl, police also seized $2,7800 from Mercier, 41, that they believe came from drug sales. No one knows why he chose Mac’s Grill as the destination, but owner Mike Peters is grateful that his staff was able to stop the shipment of powerful narcotics.
“I am glad that this fentanyl didn’t make its way to the ‘street,’” he told WMTW in a statement. “The instances of overdose in our, and surrounding, communities is awful, and fentanyl seems to be front and center when it comes to fatalities. It is very sad.”
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The public was gently advised to refrain from sending narcotics to him in the future. “If there are folks out there considering having their drugs shipped here, we would kindly ask that they choose somewhere else,” Peters wrote.
Mercier was charged with aggravated illegal importation of scheduled pharmaceuticals, aggravated trafficking of scheduled drugs, and violation of conditional release while out on pre-conviction bail for an unrelated criminal case. He was being jailed without bond in the Androscoggin County Jail.
“This is an active, ongoing investigation and we do anticipate that our state and federal partners will be joining this investigation,” Auburn Deputy Chief Tim Cougle said. According to the Auburn police department, the alleged drug dealer spent a significant amount of time in federal prison after being convicted of cocaine distribution in 2007.
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