In today’s episode of “Jail Mail” we have one Adam Jalbert, a fellow some of you may remember from a rather oddball arrest outside the county jail in January. 

The story begins like this: “A man and woman from northern Maine were arrested late Thursday night after they tried  to bail someone out of the Androscoggin County Jail using counterfeit money.” 

Jalbert and a lass named Angelina Quirion were arrested on a slew of charges after police say they found 112 grams of cocaine base, 165 grams of cocaine, 300 grams of fentanyl and nearly 500 grams of methamphetamine along with a 9 mm pistol. 

That’s a whole lot of dope, but problems for Jalbert and Quirion were just beginning. 

A few days after the arrests came a follow-up story that began with this: “A northern Maine couple charged with drug crimes last week were in further trouble Wednesday after investigators said more drugs and guns were found at their Bangor apartment.” 

It’s the kind of story I’ll remember for a couple days and then absolutely forget about until the whole matter comes up in court again a year down the line. 

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But Jalbert hasn’t forgotten and over the past few weeks, he’s written me a series of letters. The letters take me to task for what Jalbert deems a whole lot of bad information, yet somehow he never gets nasty about it, which is strangely impressive. 

At the top of Jalbert’s list of things I got wrong is the fact that my articles had loosely described Quirion as his girlfriend. 

“Angela was my best friend prior to this,” Jalbert tells me. “We were never a couple.” 

Jalbert lives in Houlton, Quirion in Bangor. According to his letters, Jalbert had never intended to come to Auburn the night of the arrests. He also insists he knew nothing of the dope nor of the gun found in the car. 

“I had only asked her for a ride to Bangor so that I could see my three young boys,” he writes. “I hadn’t seen them for over a year. The man Angela was coming to bail out is her boyfriend and I specifically told her to drop me off at my destination in Bangor because I did not like her boyfriend and I wanted no part in going to bail him out. When I asked for the ride, I was not aware of the drugs in the car.” 

How did Jalbert end up in Auburn after all? He fell asleep, he says, and Quirion just kept driving. 

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He recounts his experience at the jail as he waited in the car as Angela went to bail out her man. If counterfeit cash was used, Jalbert insists, it’s got nothing to do with him. Further, he says, nobody was as surprised as he was when police pulled such an impressive stash of drugs out of the car. 

“They were not my drugs,” he writes. “It was not my money … It was wrong place, wrong time.” 

Jalbert was not done. He does not live at the home in Bangor, as reported, where police found additional drugs, he said. He and Quirion did not live together and the fact that it was reported that way was causing him grief. 

“It’s bad enough that people think she’s my girlfriend,” he wrote. “Now my children won’t answer the phone and all I was trying to do was get to them. Now I may never see them again.” 

Here you’d expect me to hotly defend my position and call Jalbert a no-account liar, but at this phase, I can’t do it. Pretty much all the information I had on this case came from a pair of police news releases. I’ve yet to see a more expansive court affidavit and it’s far too early to listen in on court testimony. 

Is Jalbert telling the truth? Is he clean of every bit of it and just the hapless victim of that wrong place, wrong time scenario? Will he be able to prove it, if so? 

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In his mind, it doesn’t matter. He’s already hung. 

“I haven’t been convicted of anything but like I said, it’s all about opinions,” he writes. “People have formulated opinions and already believe I’ve done the things that I don’t believe I’m guilty of, and it’s because of stories like this. Is this what news really is like? How much of what we read and see on the news is fact and how much is speculation?” 

Jalbert also took exception to my reporting of his prior criminal history: He was charged two years ago with stabbing a man in Caribou. The victim in the Nov. 17, 2020, attack was taken by helicopter to a Bangor hospital and survived his wounds. Jalbert was charged with elevated aggravated assault after police captured him the day after the assault. He was free on unsecured bail at the time of the fiasco at the local county jail. 

The fact that he was free to ride to Auburn at all, Jalbert says, hints at his innocence in the earlier crime. 

“Do you think they have a strong case?” he demands to know. “Why would they let me out with no money and so little conditions?” 

I don’t get a ton of mail from inmates proclaiming their innocence, but I get some. And every piece of mail of that sort makes me think. As strongly as I’ll defend my reporting, which is based on the sources and materials available to me, I would also be opposed to ignoring these types of claims because … Well, come on. Mathematics alone insists that SOME of these people must be telling the truth. 

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In the end, it will be up to a jury to decide.

“If I beat these charges,” Jalbert wants to know, “will you be there to cover the story or do you only write about the bad things? That’s all that the media is about nowadays, right?” 

A fair point, I suppose. Because while the court reporter and I try real hard to follow these types of cases all the way through, there are surely those that slip through the cracks. And that’s an ugly notion, because if a person is cleared of charges in crimes that we reported, by gum, our readers ought to know about it. 

I don’t know if Adam Jalbert and I solved any issues in all this, but his letters were interesting if nothing else. In the end, before he moved on in later letters to complain about jail conditions, Jalbert even had some kind words. 

“I’m not mad at you for your article because I know you got your information from somewhere and you’re just writing a story the people will eat up,” he writes. “I don’t have to like it, though.” 

In the next letter, it got even kinder still. 

“On a side note,” Jalbert writes, “I find myself looking for your stories in every edition of the paper. I like that you bring joy and humor amidst all the negativity.” 

Of course, he may have been buttering me up before his next story pitch — lack of substance abuse treatment at the county jail — but hey, kind words are rare these days so I’ll take it. 

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