Hartford girl arrested, little one positioned in protecting custody following drug investigation

A 38-year-old Hartford woman was arrested and her 20-month old child was placed in protective custody on June 22 following an investigation by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force.

According to information from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force undertook a month-long investigation that resulted in search warrants being executed on June 22 at a residence in the city of Hartford and a storage unit in the town of Polk. Authorities found cocaine, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia during the searches.

“The residence in question has been a nuisance property for neighbors in the City of Hartford for some time. Citizens have complained about suspected drug dealing and other issues going on at the house. The drug task force opened an investigation into suspected drug dealing in early June. An undercover deputy was able to purchase cocaine and methamphetamine at the residence from the suspect,” the Sheriff’s Office stated in a news release.

It was during that first visit in early June that an undercover officer was asked by the 38-year-old woman to feed fries to her 20-month old child while she packaged drugs in another room.

“Based on the discovery of the child in a dangerous and unfit home environment, the case became a priority for investigators,” the Sheriff’s Office stated.

On June 22, the 38-year-old woman left the house with her child, and law enforcement conducted a traffic stop, which resulted in the suspect being taken into custody. During admission to the Washington County Jail, corrections officers recovered cocaine from the suspect. The child was taken into protective custody from the traffic stop by Washington County Human Services and immediately brought to a medical facility to be checked out and eventually placed in foster care.

The 38-year-old City of Hartford woman now faces multiple charges related to the delivery and possession of cocaine, methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, and child neglect. The woman’s 31-year-old brother was also arrested during the execution of the search warrant on outstanding felony warrants unrelated to the investigation after he attempted to flee the residence.

Washington County Sheriff Martin Schulteis said, “The coordinated response to drug endangered children is a cooperative effort between local Washington County stakeholders. We have been working closely together with our partners to establish uniform response guidelines to drug endangered children which allow us to respond efficiently and effectively to ensure children are taken out of these life-threatening situations. It is unconscionable to think that a parent would leave a small child unattended with a stranger who is in the house to purchase drugs.”

In its statement, the Sheriff’s Office also said: “We would like to extend our appreciation to the citizens who came forward with this information as well as all of our assisting community partners who collaborated to bring this to a successful conclusion. We also want to extend our appreciation to the drug task force for being able to put this case together in such efficient and effective manner so that the child could be removed from a potentially deadly situation.”

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