Off-Island trio indicted on drug dealing charges

Off-Island trio indicted on drug dealing charges

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— Ralph Stewart

A Dukes County Superior Court grand jury returned indictments Monday against three men arrested last September on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs. When stopped for questioning, police discovered they were carrying 291 prescription painkiller pills, worth about $15,000 if sold illegally.

The grand jury charged  Mike Jean-Francois, 25, of Middleboro; Brandon F. Merkman, 31, of Sagamore; and Quentin Philip, 27, of Boston. Each faces three identical charges: possession with intent to distribute more than 18 grams but less than 36 grams of Oxycodone; and two counts of conspiracy to distribute Oxycodone.

The indictments move the case from Edgartown District Court, where they three men were arraigned on September 5, to the Superior Court, where the law allows a wider range of sentences.

If convicted on the charge of possession with intent to distribute Oxycodone, the defendants will face a minimum mandatory sentence of 3.5 years, and as much as 20 years,  in state prison.

Each conspiracy charge carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The three men are scheduled for arraignment in Superior Court on April 22.

Members of the Martha’s Vineyard Drug Task Force arrested the three men on Circuit Avenue on September 3, 2013. When officers stopped to talk to the three men, they noticed a large prescription bottle hidden in a hat. The bottle contained 268 Percocet pills. Police found 23 more pills on Mr. Phillip’s person in a subsequent search.

Percocet is a combination of acetaminophen, the drug found in Tylenol, and oxycodone, an Opioid used for treatment of pain. Each 30 mg pill has an estimated street value of $50, according to police.

Police said that each of the men has a lengthy criminal record.


  1. When are we as a community finally going to come to grips with this issue? Address it head on. Let me frame it for you.

    It starts with our consumers. Sure, it may be cheaper to shop off island. Have the goods delivered. But you as the consumer are taking away living wage jobs from local islanders and contributing to the social problems of unemployment and underemployment. And your dollars are leaving the island you love to circulate back in America.

    Keep it local. Support island businesses. No room for outsiders here.

    Oh, and as an aside, you really shouldn’t do drugs.

  2. You know why so many people get arrested for selling drugs on Martha’s Vineyard? Because so many people that live on Martha’s Vineyard do so many drugs.