Brewer police, DEA arrest local woman on cocaine charge

Posted March 17, 2011, at 6:05 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — A Brewer woman was arrested and charged with aggravated drug trafficking after a raid at her Maple Street home Wednesday turned up about half a pound of cocaine, police said Thursday.

The series of events that led to the arrest of 24-year-old Jessica Vachon began when Brewer police Officer Liz Kelley received a tip about alleged drug activity at Vachon’s residence, Brewer police Lt. Chris Martin said.

Kelley and some of her Brewer Police Department colleagues — Officers Amy Nickerson, Detective Cpl. Paul Gauvin, Cpl. Steve Boyd and federal Drug Enforcement Task Force Agent Fred Luce — pursued the lead, Martin said.

As a result of their investigation, the officers obtained a search warrant, which was executed Wednesday by members of the Brewer Police Department’s Criminal Interdiction Unit and the Bangor division of the federal DEA Task Force, Martin said.

The search turned up about half a pound of cocaine as well as paraphernalia connected to an apparent trafficking operation, he said, estimating the street value of the cocaine at about $22,000 based on the current market price of about $100 a gram.

Vachon remained Thursday at the Penobscot County Jail in Bangor, where she was being held on $1,500 bail, a jail official said.

Besides the relatively large amount of cocaine seized, the trafficking charge was elevated to aggravated because the alleged drug operation took place “within a stone’s throw of a city park,” and as such, is subject to tougher drug-free zone rules that apply to areas within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and similar public facilities, Martin said.

According to Martin, the Brewer Police Department established its Criminal Interdiction Unit in 2010. It consists of 10 Brewer officers who volunteered to join the team.

Since last December, the team collectively has investigated cases resulting in 74 drug charges, 48 other criminal charges and 28 warrant arrests, he said.

“That’s pretty good for a small agency,” Martin said, adding that team members have put in lots of extra hours obtaining specialized training and conducting investigations above and beyond their normal patrol and investigative duties.

“Here you have a team of 10 officers who are really making a difference. They are committed to going out and trying to make Brewer a better place to live, work and pass through,” he said.

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