Man charged with smuggling Suboxone into jail

By Juliette Laaka | Jun 11, 2014
Photo by: Knox County Jail Harley Winchenbach

Rockland — A 21-year-old Rockland man, while in custody on a probation hold for a Massachusetts drug case, was nabbed for possessing Suboxone while at Knox County Jail.

Harley Winchenbach will appear in Sixth District Court June 11 for an arraignment on a charge of trafficking in prison contraband, unlawful possession of Suboxone and violating a condition of release.

The single Suboxone strip was found in a stamp, according to an affidavit. Winchenbach told agents he was prescribed Suboxone, but nobody at the jail cared.

Winchenbach was convicted in 2012 in Bristol County Superior Court of conspiracy to violate a drug law and conspiracy to commit a violation, and sentenced to two years in custody with all but one year suspended and three years on probation, according to a superior court clerk.

He is expected to be transferred to Massachusetts June 30, she said.

The case stemmed from a months-long investigation between New Bedford Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, said James Pease of the MDEA in a 2013 interview.

Another local man arrested in the raid, Charles Dodge, 30, pleaded guilty in 2013 to charges of conspiracy, conspiracy to violate drug laws, and trafficking in firearms, according to a Bristol County Superior Court clerk.

In April 2011, MDEA executed a search warrant at the Hampton Inn in Thomaston that led to the arrest of two men, Angel Acevedo and Manny Sylvia, both of New Bedford, Mass. The men were charged with trafficking cocaine and hydrocodone.

During that investigation police learned guns were being taken from the Midcoast to Massachusetts to be sold for drugs. Shortly after, New Bedford Police and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents began finding guns on gang members in the New Bedford area that were linked back to burglaries in Knox County, according to previously published reports.

Winchanbach was also arrested during the investigation after agents reportedly observed him with Sylvia and Acevedo. He was charged with aggravated trafficking of heroin based on a prior investigation of Winchenbach selling heroin within 1,000 feet of Pen Bay Christian School, according to previous reports.

In the most recent Knox County case, Winchenbach had one Suboxone strip when agents searched him at the jail. It was reported to authorities he possessed more strips before the search, said Pease.

Suboxone, formulated as a treatment for opiate addiction, is a popular drug to smuggle into the jail and prison as it is small and thin, making it easy to hide. It is also inexpensive on the street, Pease said.

Courier Publications' reporter Juleitte Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at jlaaka@courierpublictationsllc.com.

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Juliette Laaka
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Juliette primarily covers the cops and courts beat for The Courier-Gazette.

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