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Gorham Man Arrested for Operating Meth Labs

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Matthew Cole, 37, of Gorham has been arrested for the second time in six months, for operating methamphetamine laboratories.

From the Maine State Police:

Matthew Cole (37) of Gorham was arrested and charged with Unlawful Operation of a Methamphetamine Laboratory and Violation of Conditional Release (Pending Unlawful Operation of a Methamphetamine Laboratory & Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person charges from May 5, 2023) Cole had been free on bail for drug, theft, and firearm charges.

On Sunday, November 19, 2023, at approximately 12:00 pm, Gorham police officers responded to the area of 1 Church Street, the First Parish Congregational Church after a concerned citizen
contacted police about a man suspected of conducting drug deals. Officers located the suspect, Matthew Cole outside of the Church where the citizen had described. Cole had numerous backpacks, bags, and other items to include what officers recognized as “One Pot Methamphetamine Laboratories “, both of which were in the active stages of the process of producing methamphetamine and next to the Church’s outside wall. Due to the extreme chance of explosion and or fire, the area was evacuated for safety, to include the occupied church. Cole was subsequently arrested for possessing approximately 27 grams of methamphetamine.

The Gorham Fire Department was notified and responded to monitor the laboratories pending the arrival of the MDEA Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement Team (CDLET), a specially trained
group of agents from around the state, trained to mitigate the danger of the labs and render them safe, as well as collect samples for evidence. Due to the extreme fire and explosion hazards
associated with methamphetamine labs, agents are required to wear fire retardant suits and Air Purifying Respirators (APR) to avoid the toxic off gassing of the chemical process.

Lab team members arrived and mitigated the two labs, collecting evidence of the crime to include, lithium, Coleman Fuels and other items utilized in the manufacturing process.
All toxic byproducts of the labs were turned over for destruction to the State’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) who responded to the scene.

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