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Three New Bedford men indicted after shooting during alleged drug trade dispute locks down school



PORTLAND, Maine: U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine Darcie N. McElwee announced at a press briefing Thursday held outside the Edward T. Gignoux U.S. Courthouse in Portland that three New Bedford, Massachusetts men have been indicted following a February 9 drive-by shooting in Saco.

The U.S. Attorney was joined by Saco Police Chief Jack Clements, Assistant United States Attorneys Johnathan Nathans and Noah Falk, and representatives of the FBI’s Southern Maine Gang Task Force including FBI Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Christopher Peavey, ATF Special Agent in Charge James Ferguson and Resident Agent in Charge Nicholas Dilello, and Acting U.S. Marshal Kevin Neal.

In a two-count indictment returned on May 15, a federal grand jury charged Joshua Estrada (aka “Mac”), 19, Yancarlos Abrante (aka “Glizzy”), 20, and Jason Johnson-Rivera (aka “Ouda”), 18, with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and perpetrating a drive-by shooting.

According to the indictment, on February 9, 2024, the three men fired at least five rounds from a 9mm handgun into another vehicle in a drug trade dispute. The indictment alleges that Estrada, Abrante and Johnson-Rivera had been trafficking cocaine in and around Saco and Biddeford since at least January 2024.

According to police, Saco Police responded to reports of gunshots in downtown Saco just before noon, between a red Dodge Charger and a gray Honda HRV near the intersection of Elm Street and Temple Street. The vehicles then moved toward the intersection of North Street and Elm Street, where a collision occurred. The Honda HRV, which was involved in the shooting, crashed into another vehicle in the intersection. The force of the crash pushed the vehicles into an Old Orchard Beach school bus stopped at the intersection. No students on the bus reported being injured in the crash.

Following the collision, four subjects from the suspect vehicle fled on foot. Evidence at the scene indicates that at least one person, wearing all dark clothing, who fled from the crash scene, had been shot in the right arm.

Estrada was arrested in New Bedford, Massachusetts on May 6, 2024 when charged by criminal complaint for these same charges. Just prior to the press briefing today, Estrada appeared in federal court for his initial appearance in Maine and an arraignment on the indictment returned yesterday. Abrante and Johnson-Rivera, charged in the same indictment, are currently being held by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on unrelated charges. They will be in Maine next week for their initial appearances and arraignments. If convicted, the three men each face up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $1 million on the drug charge followed by at least three years of supervised release. They each face up to 25 years imprisonment and a maximum fine on $250,000 followed by a up to five years of supervised release on the drive-by shooting charge. An indictment is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

“I commend the Saco Police Department and those from the neighboring communities who responded to this incident,” said U.S. Attorney Darcie McElwee. “This joint federal and local investigation reflects that if you come to Maine and engage in violence, particularly firearm violence, there will be a swift and coordinated response from every level of law enforcement.”

“Immediately following this brazen, drive-by shooting and the ensuing chaos that followed, the FBI’s Southern Maine Gang Task Force hit the streets collecting information, intelligence, and evidence to help our partners identify those responsible and bring them to justice. We believe the three Massachusetts men we have in custody conspired with each other to traffic cocaine and were the instigators of this drive-by shooting,” said Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division which includes all of Maine. “Violent drug traffickers have a corrosive effect on our communities, and we want everyone to know that the FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to help make Maine safer for the folks who live, work, and visit here.”

“Brazen violent crime of this magnitude is not something the City of Saco is accustomed to, but when it happens, Maine law enforcement responds,” said Chief Jack Clements of the Saco Police Department. “I want to thank not only our direct neighboring agencies but also the Maine State Police, federal law enforcement, and the municipal and county law enforcement agencies from across York and Cumberland counties that responded. Finally, I would like to thank my detectives, the FBI’s Southern Maine Gang Task Force, and the United States Attorney’s Office for their tireless efforts in bringing this case to where it is today.”

The Saco Police Department and FBI’s Southern Maine Gang Task Force investigated the case with assistance from the New Bedford (Mass.) Police Department.

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