NORRIDGEWOCK — Police on Thursday arrested an alleged drug dealer whose property was visited by John Williams the night Williams is alleged to have killed Cpl. Eugene Cole, of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.

Richard Austin, 33, of Norridgewock, was arrested around 5:30 a.m. Thursday after a months-long investigation that culminated in a drug search warrant being executed at his home on Martin Stream Road, Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster said in a news release Friday.

Austin is charged with aggravated trafficking in a schedule W drug (fentanyl), possession of a schedule W drug (fentanyl) and violation of conditions of release.

Cole, a 13-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was shot fatally April 25 while on duty in Norridgewock.

Williams is alleged to have killed Cole in the driveway of a home he grew up in on Mercer Road. Police say he then stole Cole’s police cruiser, robbed a local convenience store of a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of water and called a friend to tell him he had killed Cole.

The friend met Williams in the road outside Austin’s house on Martin Stream Road, where they began smoking drugs out of a “crack pipe,” police wrote in an affidavit at the time.

Austin’s property on Martin Stream Road is also where police found Cole’s cruiser after Williams allegedly ditched it and went into hiding in the woods.

Lancaster would not elaborate any further on what, if any, relationship there is between Austin and Williams.

He said police for months have been investigating alleged trafficking by Austin of heroin and fentanyl from the Martin Stream Road house and other places in Somerset County.

Upon forcing entry into his residence Thursday, deputies encountered three pit bull-type dogs, one of whom bit a woman who owns the residence and one of the deputies.

Medical technicians were called to the scene to treat the woman, Lancaster said, while the deputy did not require medical attention.

The trafficking charge Austin was arrested on Thursday was aggravated because of a prior felony drug trafficking conviction in 2008, Lancaster said.

At the time, Austin was involved in the sale and possession of Vicodin pills. He also is on a deferred disposition with the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office for driving offenses and is being held without bail.

Additional charges might be forthcoming against Austin and others once the district attorney reviews the case, Lancaster said.

Williams was arrested April 28 outside a camp in Fairfield, in part of a wooded area that was searched by around 200 law enforcement officers from local, state and federal agencies after the robbery.

Police have not offered a motive for the killing. Though Cole had been involved in the arrest of Williams’ girlfriend on drug charges just a few days before the murder, the police affidavit suggested it was a moment of happenstance between Cole and Williams, who was on edge about a court appearance in Massachusetts on firearm charges.

Williams, who is charged with murder, faces a sentence of 25 years to life if convicted. He entered an initial plea of not guilty in June. The case is still working its way through the court system.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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