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Press Release

Portland Man Pleads Guilty to Holding for Sale Counterfeit Drugs and Possessing a Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maine

Portland, Maine:  United States Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced that Colin Harle, 23, of Portland, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to holding for sale counterfeit drugs and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

According to court records, on August 27, 2018, law enforcement officers arrested Harle in South Portland following his attempted sale of counterfeit alprazolam (commonly sold under the brand name “Xanax”) pills.  After Harle’s arrest, officers learned that Harle had a safe in a wooded area in Westbrook, Maine. Officers located the safe and found about 20,000 counterfeit pills marked “Xanax 2,” $5,480 in United States currency, and a 9mm pistol with two fully-loaded magazines.

The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) Forensic Chemistry Center confirmed the presence of alprazolam in the pills and that the pills were counterfeit. 

“American consumers rely on FDA oversight to ensure the safety, efficacy, and authenticity of their prescription medications.  Illegally dispensing counterfeit prescription drugs places consumers’ health at risk,” said Jeffrey Ebersole, Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations’ New York Field Office. “We are committed to pursuing and bringing to justice those who jeopardize the public health by distributing these potentially dangerous products.”

“Traffickers who keep loaded guns with their illegal drugs should expect to be caught and prosecuted,” said U.S. Attorney Frank. 

The defendant faces up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the counterfeit drug charge and between five years and life in prison and a $250,000 fine on the firearm charge.  He will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office.

This case was investigated by FDA Office of Criminal Investigations; the Westbrook Police Department; and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. 


David B. Joyce
Assistant United States Attorney
Tel: (207) 780-3257

Updated July 16, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses