An Augusta woman is facing charges of trafficking in prison contraband after hiding more than 13 grams of crack cocaine in a bodily orifice.

Sarah Lyn Pearl, 26, was charged Tuesday with unlawful possession of scheduled drugs, unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs and trafficking in prison contraband. Pearl, who also is charged with violating conditions of release and attaching false license plates, was being held without bail Tuesday at the Kennebec County jail. She is scheduled to make her first court appearance Wednesday.

Chief Deputy Ryan Reardon, of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, said Pearl was charged after entering the jail with 13.2 grams of crack cocaine hidden in her vagina.

Pearl was arrested Monday after Sgt. Scott Mills, of the sheriff’s office, stopped her Ford Ranger pickup truck at a Bangor Street convenience store. Pearl, who was free on bail conditions while awaiting trial for previous drug charges, was driving a truck with illegally attached license plates, Reardon said. Pearl was driving the truck, which also had two men inside. Neither of the men is facing charges, Reardon said.

Kennebec County Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Moody and his dog, Striker, arrived a short time later to search the vehicle. That search included a sniff of all three people who had been inside the truck, Reardon said. Striker became excited, or indicated, when he smelled Pearl. Reardon said that’s a signal that the person being sniffed is carrying drugs. Striker is trained to indicate the presence of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

“It was a very enthusiastic indication by the dog,” Reardon said. Pearl denied carrying any illegal drugs.

He said detectives also learned that Pearl had bought a package of condoms in the store. Traffickers commonly use condoms to wrap illegal drugs to prevent discovery. The condoms and drugs are then either swallowed or hidden in a bodily orifice such as the anus or the vagina.

Pearl was given clean clothes at the jail, but Striker again indicated three times she was carrying drugs, Reardon said. Pearl continued to deny she had drugs in her possession.

“We knew she had it, but she wouldn’t give it up,” Reardon said.

Pearl was held overnight at the jail on a charge of violating conditions of her release and attaching false plates. Deputies used that time to secure a search warrant to have Pearl undergo an X-ray at MaineGeneral Medical Center. Pearl admitted carrying the illegal drugs when presented with the warrant forcing her to submit to the X-ray.

Pearl ultimately turned over more than 13.2 grams of crack cocaine that had been double-wrapped inside two condoms.

Reardon said if Pearl had admitted initially to carrying the drugs, she would not have been charged with trafficking in prison contraband.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4


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