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U.S. Attorney says three Massachusetts men are facing federal charges after Saco shootout

The first of three Massachusetts men alleged to have initiated the Saco shooting in February that led to a city lockdown appeared in federal court Thursday in Portland.

Joshua Estrada, 19, of New Bedford pleaded not guilty to federal felony charges of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and perpetrating a drive-by shooting.

Yancarlos Abrante, 20, and Jason Johnson-Rivera, 18, also of New Bedford, will be arraigned on the same charges next week. They are being held in Massachusetts on unrelated charges.

U.S. Attorney Darcie McElwee said on February 9, Estrada, Abrante, and Johnson-Rivera were fighting with local drug traffickers to control the flow of drugs in the area.

"With intent to intimidate, harass, injure and maim, these three men fired at least five rounds from a 9 mm at their adversaries in the drug trade in Saco and Biddeford causing grave risk to human life," McElwee said.

Saco Police worked with the FBI Southern Maine Gang Task Force to find the men. Court documents indicate they identified the three men by relying on an informant who bought cocaine through a Facebook page and met the men to pick up the drugs.

ATF agents in Boston and Portland and the Acting U.S. Marshal in Maine assisted in the case.

The investigation is ongoing.