WATERVILLE (AP) – The heroin found in a raid this week was intended for inmates at the Maine State Prison in Warren, a Waterville police detective said.

Detective John Gould said the 40 grams of powdered heroin was packaged in small, colorful balloons. The drugs were seized Monday in a raid on a Spruce Street home.

“The purpose of the packaging – little balloons – was to get them into the state prison,” Maine State Police Lt. Jeffrey Trafton said.

Trafton said police think people would hide the balloons under their tongues and pass them to prisoners while kissing. Prisoners would swallow the packages and retrieve them later, he said.

Police estimated the drugs would have sold for $20,000 on the street, and as much as $50,000 inside the prison.

Tarlicia Lee Aldrich, 23, was arrested Monday when police searching her home found the drugs, Gould said. Aldrich is charged with aggravated trafficking in heroin, and could face up to 25 years in prison.

Levar Avery Green, 26, of Benton and Emmanuel “Manny” Reynolds, 23, of Winslow were arrested and charged with violating their probation.

Both men could be charged additionally once the Attorney General’s Office reviews the case.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said the investigation began Feb. 21 after corrections officials asked state police to search on two women who had arrived at the state prison to visit an inmate.

A state police drug dog indicated Tarah Buzzell, 22, of Portland, was carrying drugs. Police found two balloons of cocaine in her pocketbook and arrested Buzzell and Danielle Veilleux, 21, of Portland. The women were charged with trafficking in prison contraband and furnishing cocaine. Veilleux was also charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Officials said additional arrests may be made as the investigation continues.

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