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.