Three people face drug charges after officials from three agencies searched the car and home of a Skowhegan woman, seizing about $12,000 worth of heroin and other drugs, as well as a live alligator.

Jessica Hutchins, 36, of 386 Water St., Skowhegan, was outside the Beverage Mart on nearby North Avenue at 12:20 p.m. Monday when officials from the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office and an agent from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency observed her allegedly selling crack cocaine to a man later identified as Randy Willard, 37, of Oakland, according to Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster. Inside the car was Fred Barlow, 38, of Moscow, Lancaster said Wednesday in a phone interview.

Armed with a search warrant, the officials impounded the black Chevrolet Cobalt and took it to the Sheriff’s Office in Madison where they found 100 grams of heroin, crack cocaine, powdered cocaine and fentanyl, as well as digital scales, cash and other drug-related paraphernalia inside the car, according to Lancaster.

Fred Barlow, left, Jessica Hutchins, center, Randy Willard Somerset County Sheriff’s Office photo

They then searched Hutchins’ apartment across Water Street from Coburn Park and seized about 4.5 grams of crack cocaine and powder cocaine, along with drug packaging material, digital scales, cash and drug paraphernalia.

“We also got an alligator out of her home,” Lancaster said.

The 2-foot-long alligator, which was being housed in Rubbermaid tubs, was taken by the Maine Warden Service, he said. Having an alligator in Maine is illegal if someone does not have proper permits, according to Lancaster.

“The search warrant went down without incident,” he said.

A teenager in the apartment at the time went with a family member, according to Lancaster.

He said the initial search warrant team was led by Somerset Sheriff’s Department Lt. Carl Gottardi and included four sheriff’s detectives, two patrol deputies, and a Maine drug enforcement agent. As the search expanded, a detective from the Skowhegan Police Department and an agent from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency assigned to the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office joined the effort.

Hutchins was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs, Class A; trafficking in scheduled drugs Class B; and operating after suspension, Lancaster said. The charges against her are aggravated because of the amount of drugs seized and the drug trafficking activities took place within 1,000 feet of Margaret Chase Smith Elementary School, he said. Hutchins’ bail was set by a bail commissioner at $10,000 cash, and she remained Wednesday at Somerset County Jail.

The 2-foot-long alligator discovered in a search of a Skowhegan resident’s house was kept in a Rubbermaid tub. It was turned over to the Maine Warden Service. It is illegal to keep alligators in Maine without the proper permits, Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster said Wednesday. Somerset County Sheriff’s Office photo

Barlow was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs, Class A; trafficking in scheduled drugs Class B; and violation of conditions of release, because at the time of his arrest, he was out on bail for trafficking in scheduled drugs, according to Lancaster.  The charges against him are aggravated because of the amount of drugs seized and because the drug activity took place within 1,000 feet of the elementary school. Barlow was being held without bail at the jail Wednesday.

Willard was arrested and charged with possession of scheduled drugs, Class C, and violation of conditions of release. At the time of his arrest, he was out on bail for unrelated drug trafficking charges, according to Lancaster. Willard also was being held Wednesday at the jail, without bail.

The trio is scheduled to make a first appearance in Somerset County Unified Court on Oct. 7. Lancaster said more charges may be forthcoming after the cases are reviewed by the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office.


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