LEWISTON — A state worker was arrested in a Main Street parking lot Wednesday, accused of attempting to buy prescription drugs in order to sneak them into prison.
Maine Drug Enforcement agents and investigators from the Maine State Prison system teamed up to arrest the Searsport woman in an operation that was finalized at about 7:30 p.m. outside Marden's.
Police said the woman had gone to the busy parking lot on Wednesday night after agreeing to buy narcotics from what she thought was a local supplier. Instead, it was an undercover drug agent who met her outside Marden's. Other officers were waiting nearby and the woman was taken into custody without incident.
The woman was later identified through an Androscoggin County Jail booking sheet as 41-year-old Kathryn Gerrish. She was charged with trafficking in prison contraband and possession of a schedule drug.
Gerry Baril, supervisor of the MDEA, said the woman works in the state prison system but stressed that she is not a corrections officer.
Prison officials had learned that the woman was attempting to buy drugs with the intent of bringing them into prison, Baril said. Undercover agents were able to make contact with her and arrangements for the bogus deal were made.
The woman and the arrest had nothing to do with Marden's, Baril said, other than that its parking lot had been designated as the point of the transaction.
Inside the store, most shoppers had no idea that a police operation had been completed in the parking lot a half hour before closing time.
"We did it as quietly and as quickly as possible," Baril said.
Further details about the investigation were expected to be released Thursday.