PARIS — Two Mexico residents were arrested Tuesday as part of an ongoing investigation into drug trafficking in the River Valley.

Ashley Morissette, 22, and Nicholas Varnum, 23, were arrested after law enforcement agents executed a Maine Drug Enforcement Agency search warrant at a house on Sun Valley Circle the morning of Dec. 31. 

Morissette and Varnum had an initial court appearance via video conference from the Oxford County Jail in Paris on Thursday afternoon. 

According to MDEA Supervisor Matt Cashman, officers found illegal prescription drugs, cocaine and a small marijuana growing operation, as well as scales and other paraphernalia agents suspect were used to measure drugs for sale. 

MDEA agent Chancey Libby, who works with the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office, executed the warrant, along with sheriff’s deputies and officers from the Mexico Police Department. 

Cashman said officers found the home “littered” with between 40 and 50 hypodermic needles, including some containing illegal drugs. An infant living there was removed to the home of a family member with the assistance of Maine Department of Health and Human Services, he said. 

According to Cashman, the search uncovered 22 30-milligram oxycodone pills, valued at approximately $800, as well as three grams of cocaine, six Suboxone pills and five marijuana plants in a small grow operation in a closet. The grow did not appear to be commercial, he said. 

Cashman said Morissette has a prescription for the narcotic Suboxone used to treat opioid addiction, but in a different form than the pills found in the home. The apartment is in close proximity to drug safety zones, including Merobye Elementary School and the River Valley Recreation Center, he said. 

The arrests were part of an ongoing investigation into drug trafficking and distribution in the Rumford-Mexico area, Cashman said. 

According to the Oxford County Jail, Morissette is charged with two counts of aggravated drug trafficking and one of endangering the welfare of a child. Her bail is set at $750 cash or a Maine Pre-Trial Services Contract.

Varnum was also charged with aggravated drug trafficking and child endangerment. He was out on bail at the time of his arrest and faces a slew of other felony charges including theft, burglary, assault and terrorizing, according to officials at the jail. His bail was set at $20,000 cash. 

As of Thursday afternoon, Morissette and Varnum remained behind bars.

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