WATERVILLE — Three suspected drug dealers are in jail, nearly $32,000 in cash is seized and a 2-year-old child is placed in state custody after police late Wednesday searched an apartment at 24 Elm St., a building known as “the beehive.”

Police Chief Joseph Massey said Thursday that police suspected drugs were being sold from Apartment 301 in the building at the corner of Elm Street and Western Avenue, and detectives had been watching it for several weeks.

He said detectives had bought cocaine and crystal methamphetamine from the apartment’s occupants, and police had obtained a search warrant for the address. Authorities had not executed the warrant when police were sent there around 11 p.m. Wednesday to deal with a report of a possible drug overdose.

Sgt. Brian Gardiner realized it was the apartment that had been under surveillance, so police decided to search it then, Massey said. They found $31,900 in cash and a lot of drug paraphernalia, including scales and packaging equipment, but no drugs, he said.

“Detectives suspect when they made the call for a medical emergency, the people got the drugs out of the apartment, which is not uncommon, because they knew medical people and possibly police were on their way,” Massey said.

Emergency medical workers took one person to the hospital. The person, whose identity the police did not provide, was treated and released.

Dasheene Bowman, 41, who rents the apartment, was arrested and charged with two counts of class A aggravated trafficking in drugs — crack and heroin — and one count of class B conspiracy to distribute drugs. Her 2-year-old daughter, who was at the home when police arrived, was placed in the custody of the state Department of Health and Human Services, according to Massey.

Also arrested were Bowman’s son, Ronald Williams, 23, who gave an address of 341 Clinton Ave., Bridgeport, Connecticut, although he had been in Bowman’s apartment the last several weeks, Massey said.

Williams was charged with five counts of class A aggravated trafficking in drugs, namely heroin, crack and crystal methamphetamine, and one count of class B conspiracy to distribute drugs. An associate of Williams, Jose Diaz, 24, who gave an address of 108-02 159th St., Apartment 3A, Jamaica, New York, was charged with one count of class B conspiracy to distribute drugs, Massey said.

“We do anticipate additional arrests,” Massey said.

Massey said the incident highlights how serious the drug situation is in Waterville.

“Unfortunately, we’re seeing these hard drugs, narcotics, sold in the city,” he said. “They’re coming from out of state, which is very concerning. There’s just such a scourge in the city and we see devastation, day in and day out — people addicted, ill, sick and desperate — and it’s really a somber experience when you deal with these folks day after day after day.”

The state has appropriated more money for more Maine Drug Enforcement Agency officers, and Massey said that law enforcement officials from area police departments, Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office and MDEA met two or three weeks ago to discuss forming a task force that would share resources and intelligence to address the drug situation in an efficient and effective way.

“We’re still in the process of looking at that,” Massey said. “We still have such a market for illegal drugs. It’s just unbelievable. It’s an uphill battle. It’s one we think is worth fighting.”

“There’s no shortage of drug dealers. There’s no shortage of drugs coming into the state of Maine, and there’s no shortage of buyers,” he added. “The market’s here.”

Bowman, Williams and Diaz were taken to the Kennebec County jail in Augusta, where bail for Bowman was set at $65,000 cash, and she is not to leave the state until seen by a judge. Cash bail for Williams is $140,000, with the same condition. Bail for Diaz is $50,000 cash, Massey said.

They are scheduled to appear at 8:30 a.m. April 11 in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.