Make my day! Maine governor calls on residents to ‘load up,’ shoot drug dealers

Maine Governor Paul LePage. © Gretchen Ertl
One day after Maine Governor Paul LePage suggested bringing back the guillotine to publically execute drug dealers, he’s proposed adding vigilantism to the state’s crime deterrent mix.

“I tell ya, everybody in Maine, we have constitutional carry,” Governor LePage told reporters on Wednesday, according to the Portland Press Herald. “Load up and get rid of the drug dealers. Because, folks, they’re killing our kids.”

A reporter then asked the governor whether he was suggesting vigilante justice.

“No sir,” LePage replied.

LePage has been outspoken in his desire to increase the prison term for drug dealers convicted of providing a deadly dose to 20 years to life.

“I know of a man and woman that died in the same night from the drugs they bought from one dealer. Two homicides, I consider that two homicides,” LePage said.

LePage’s comments were made during a visit to Lewiston, an area in the state heavily hit by a heroin epidemic. On Tuesday, LePage had joked about using the guillotine to publically execute drug dealers.

The Republican governor has repeatedly complained that out-of-the state dealers are fueling Maine’s heroin epidemic. He has previously suggested charging them with homicide if drugs they sold were linked to a fatal overdose.

LePage made national headlines in early January when he accused those out-of-state dealers of impregnating “white girls.”

“There are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty – these types of guys,” LePage said at a town hall. “They come from Connecticut and New York, they come up to sell their heroin, they go back home.”

“Incidentally,” he added, “half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing, because we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.”

LePage later apologized for his remarks, noting that he had meant to say “Maine women” rather than “white girls,” and blamed the media for blowing his slip of the tongue out of proportion.

“I was going impromptu and my brain didn’t catch up to my mouth,” he said a news conference.

LePage has also suggested the state bring back the death penalty, a punishment Maine abolished in 1887.

“Where’s the outrage? Let’s get mad. Let’s stop it,” LePage said, according to WGME.

In fact, the Maine does have a drug problem, along with other northern New England states, where residents have been abusing prescription opiates like OxyContin for over a decade, obtaining them both legally by prescription and illegally. When states started to crack down on over-prescribing, a boost in the demand for heroin ensued.

“There was a time in Maine where you would see heroin smuggled in that was packaged for sale,” Roy McKinney, director of Maine’s Drug Enforcement Administration, told the Portland Press Herald back in 2015. “That day is no longer. Now we see bulk heroin, and it’s being milled and packaged here. There’s simply more money to be made than in the saturated Greater New York market, and the dealers know that.”

McKinney said dealers know they can sell a gram in Maine for three times what it would bring in New York.

A DEA drug sweep in January of 2015 resulted in the arrest of two dozen people and clearly revealed a concrete link between Maine and gang-controlled operations in New York. McKinney said that 17 percent of the drug traffickers that his agents arrested last year were not Maine residents.