Man who inspired cult fears in Aroostook County arrested in Madawaska

Bangor Daily News/March 10, 2020

By Jessica Potila

Fort Kent, Maine — A man who was the subject of Facebook gossip that he was leading a cult in St. Agatha and recently was ordered to leave the home where his group lived has been arrested in Madawaska and may be extradited to Tennessee.

Aroostook County sheriff’s deputies arrested Gary D. Blankenship, 35, and Brittany T. Dixon, 31, at a Madawaska residence on Monday.

Blankenship was the subject of Facebook gossip about his activities, and public perception about his community was not helped by stories about Blankenship featured in the Lewiston Sun Journal highlighting fears that he was leading a cult.

The Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office discovered on Monday that Blankenship and Dixon were both wanted by Tennessee police on extraditable warrants for vehicle theft, a Class E felony, and hindering a secured creditor.

The Tennessee warrants were issued on March 2 and were discovered while deputies were speaking to Blankenship and Dixon about an unrelated matter.

Deputies confirmed with authorities in Tennessee that they wanted Blankenship and Dixon taken into custody.

Until recently, Blankenship and Dixon were living in a St. Agatha home owned by Leo “Jim” Dugal.

Earlier this year, Dugal sued Blankenship to vacate the premises of the Main Street property where Blankenship and his family had been living since last summer.

A Fort Kent District Court judge on Feb. 21 confirmed a settlement agreement between Dugal and Blankenship, which provided Blankenship would vacate the premises of the St. Agatha property within 14 days.

At that time, Blankenship said he did not intend to remain in the St. John Valley.

Blankenship and Dixon have since vacated the St. Agatha home and were staying with a friend at the Madawaska residence where they were arrested Monday.

Blankenship and Dixon were arrested without incident and taken to the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton, where they will await possible extradition to Tennessee.

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