Published DateLACONIA — The trio arrested on Wednesday on charges of possessing various narcotic drugs and conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine remain in Belknap County Jail in lieu of cash bail following their arraignment in 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday.
Judge Jim Carroll set cash bail for Joel Paquette, 42, who is charged with three counts of possession and one of conspiracy, all class B felonies, at $10,000 while Don Doucet, 40, and Christy Jarrell, 29, both charged with one count of possession and conspiracy, were each held on $5,000 cash bail. All three are scheduled to appear for a probable cause hearing on June 3.
According to the affidavit of Deputy Justin Blanchette of the Belknap County Sheriff's Department, the arrests stemmed from surveillance of apartment 6 at 21 Academy Street, where information led him to suspect drugs were being sold and methamphetamine was being made.
While watching the building, which is right across the street from the Belknap County Courthouse, Blanchette says in papers filed with the court he saw a man enter the apartment around 11:30 a.m. and leave on a bicycle about an hour later. He reported that he approached the man, who agreed to speak with him and identified himself as Paquette. Blanchette said that since Paquette showed signs of methamphetamine use, including "body sores, healing burns, a sunken face, poor oral hygiene and a general unhealthy appearance," he asked to check him for drugs.
Paquette agreed. Blanchette found nothing on his person, then noticed a water bottle on his bicycle, which he said held only water, but agreed to let him remove it from the bicycle. When Blanchette shook the bottle, something rattled inside it. Paquette said he did not know what it was, but on Blanchette's request agreed to open it. Inside Blanchette found a prescription bottle containing a dozen oxycodone tablets and 30 diazepam (valium) tablets along with traces of methamphetamine.
After Paquette was arrested he asked Blanchette to take the bicycle to his girlfriend, Jarrell, at apartment 6.
According to Blanchette, Doucet, who rents the unit, answered the door, said that Jarrell was there and invited him in. Once in the living room Blanchette said that he saw "in plain view on the floor" pseudoephedrine, ammonium nitrate and coffee filters, which he described as "materials to make methamphetamine.
Blanchette said that when Doucet sat on the couch there was a mirror with white powder, a pen shaft and cotton on it. The pen shaft field tested positive for methamphetamine, he said. Doucet was arrested for the drugs and paraphernalia on the mirror as well as a hypodermic needle, which he said he used to inject drugs.
Blanchette said that Jarrell, who also showed signs of drug use, when asked admitted "to being a methamphetamine addict and quitting just a day ago when a one-pot meth lab exploded and burned her neck." Asked if she had any drugs, she led Blanchette to her bedroom where she said "I don't know. let me dump out my purse." When a pipe, which field tested positive for methamphetamine, fell out. she too was arrested.
According to the affidavit, after all three were read their Miranda rights, Paquette said that he cooked methamphetamine in the woods and there was no working meth lab in the apartment while Jarrell said that she knew he had the materials to make methamphetamine and was about to do it.
Although Doucet consented to a search of the apartment, Blanchette applied for a search warrant.
Despite Paquette's admission, Fire Chief Ken Erickson stood by, together with Ladder 1, Engines 1 and 2 and an ambulance while officers wearing respirators and carrying a gas meter entered the apartment to conduct the search. In addition to what Blanchette reported finding, other materials and equipment for manufacturing methamphetamine as well as several hypodermic needles were found throughout the apartment in the course of the search.
At the arraignment only Paquette was represented by counsel. Prosecutor Jim Sawyer told the court that Paquette, a native of Laconia, recently returned to New Hampshire from West Virginia and, though living with a relative on Mechanic Street, has no stable residence and a tenuous connection to the city. He also has a criminal history dating from 1991, which includes robbery and assault along drug offenses.
Tearful when Carroll set cash bail, Jarrell also came for West Virginia about a month ago and has no fixed address.
"I didn't know that stuff was at my house," Doucet told the court, prompting Carroll to remind of his right not to incriminate himself. He moved to the city from Franklin some six weeks ago and, like Paquette, has a criminal history dating from 1998.