Teacher at Freeport private school charged with aiding drug dealers

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LEWISTON — A Freeport language teacher was arrested at his Lewiston home Tuesday night and charged with providing a place for local drug traffickers to deal their wares.

Noel Thibodeau, 43, of 5 Bradford St., was arrested at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday after federal and local drug agents raided his home with a search warrant.

Thibodeau, a Spanish and French teacher at Coastal Studies for Girls in Freeport, was charged with maintaining drug-involved premises, a federal crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Thibodeau was taken to a federal lockup at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland where he remained Wednesday. The Bradford Street house, which Thibodeau owns, has been put up as collateral to cover legal fees along with another property in Bangor.

According to U.S. District Court documents, drug investigators say Thibodeau had been allowing drug dealers to work out of his house since the beginning of 2013.

The scenario is a common one in Lewiston: Drug dealers from lower New England cities come to live with a downtown resident, typically paying for the accommodations with drugs or profits.

Court documents do not specify whether Thibodeau was compensated for allegedly allowing dealers to work out of his home.

Drug agents, along with Maine State Police, had been investigating reports of drug trafficking out of Thibodeau’s neat, single-family home, eventually obtaining a sealed indictment from a grand jury.

At about 8:20 p.m. Tuesday, several police vehicles, marked and unmarked, wheeled onto Bradford Street and pulled up in front of Thibodeau’s house. Within minutes, Thibodeau was in handcuffs, arrested on the federal charge.

According to its website: “Coastal Studies for Girls is a semester-long science and leadership school for tenth grade girls located in Maine.”

It was not immediately clear how long Thibodeau has worked there. As of late Wednesday, the school had made no public statement on the matter.

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