Portland man charged with murder in death of Nicole Mokeme captured

The Portland man charged with murder in the hit-and-run death of his girlfriend in Acadia National Park in June has been apprehended in Cancun, Mexico.

Raymond Lester, 35, of Portland was arrested late Monday night by members of the U.S. Marshals Service Violent Offender Task Force, Marshals Service spokesman Ryan Guay said in a statement Wednesday night.

Nicole Mokeme and Raymond Lester are pictured on Bourbon Street in New Orleans in this undated photo Mokeme posted on her Facebook page on Feb. 14, 2021.

Lester was wanted by Maine State Police on a warrant charging him with one count of murder for the death of 35-year-old Nicole Mokeme. The warrant was issued June 21. He was also being sought on a federal warrant, issued June 29, for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Maine investigators learned that Lester fled the United States and had traveled to Cancun. Mexican authorities working in collaboration with the U.S. Marshals Service Mexico Foreign Field Office apprehended Lester without incident Monday evening.

Lester arrived in Chicago on Wednesday and will be transferred to Maine at a later date, Guay said.

Police charged Lester, 35, with murder in late June, a little more than a week after Mokeme was killed in a hit-and-run in Acadia National Park.

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Maine State Police have released few details on the incident and from their search.

Mokeme, a longtime activist, organizer and leader in the Black community, was killed at a retreat for Black Mainers she organized over the Juneteenth holiday week at Acadia. Mokeme hosted the event through her organization, Rise and Shine Youth Retreat, founded in 2013.

Mokeme also was involved in or helped found the Black Artist Forum, Embodied Equity Consulting, The Ensemble of Color ( formerly, Theater Ensemble of Color), The For Us By Us Fund, The Third Place, Hi Tiger, Portland Empowered, Women United Around the World and 21st Century, according to a GoFundme page created by friends for Mokeme’s 11-year-old daughter.

By Wednesday, the page had raised more than $71,000.

Mokeme and Lester had been dating for about three years, according to a Facebook post Mokeme made last Valentine’s day commemorating their two-year anniversary.

Women who dated Lester more than 10 years ago detailed a history of abuse in their interviews with the Portland Press Herald last month.

Lester’s criminal record shows a history of domestic violence starting in 2008, when he was charged by Portland police with domestic violence assault. He pleaded guilty, paid a $300 fine and was sentenced to 22 days in jail, according to a statewide criminal history report.

Assisting the U.S. Marshals Service in his capture were the Maine State Police, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Mexico City, the Northern District of Illinois, the U.S. Park Service as well as Mexican authorities.


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