A Tremont man is facing charges after approximately $100,000 in fentanyl was seized from his vehicle.

Keith Wedge, 35, is charged with aggravated trafficking in schedule W drugs. His arrest was the result of a months-long investigation by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Downeast Drug Task Force, which is based in Ellsworth. The agency was looking into the sale of heroin and fentanyl in Hancock County, specifically on Mount Desert Island.

Maine Drug Enforcement Agency/fergregory Getty Images

The investigation led to Wedge, whose vehicle was stopped at around 2:30 Monday afternoon in Newport. Drug agents executed a search warrant and seized 500 grams of suspected fentanyl from the vehicle, with an estimated street value of $100,000. Officials also seized $9,300 in suspected drug proceeds, and the vehicle itself, which is a 2013 Dodge Challenger.

Wedge was transported to the Penobscot County Jail, where bail was set at $25,000 cash.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention says Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that's typically used in the treatment of pain in cancer patients. Illegal applications of the drug usually involve mixing it with heroin, with or without the buyer's knowledge, in order to increase the drug's effects. It's a dangerous practice because even small doses of fentanyl are extremely lethal.

A new report from the Maine Attorney General's Office says 67% of overdose deaths in Maine are due to fentanyl. 2020 was a record-breaking year for overdose deaths, and 2021 is already trending higher than last year.

Anyone with information about the illegal sale of drugs in Maine is encouraged to contact the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency nearest them, or by texting MDEA to TIP411 (847411) or by calling the MDEA tip-line at 800-452-6457.

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