BELLOWS FALLS — A 58-year-old Bellows Falls woman pleaded not guilty Friday to charges she repeatedly sold heroin to a police informant while she was on probation for other drug trafficking charges.
Elizabeth “Beth” McAllister of 27 Front Street was arraigned on seven different counts stemming from the Bellows Falls Police Department investigation, according to Windham County Deputy State’s Attorney Steve Brown.
McAllister was ordered held without bail following her arraignment via video in White River Junction criminal court, Brown said. He said she was ordered held without bail because of the probation violation. Arraignment was held in Windsor County because of coronavirus restrictions.
McAllister allegedly conducted drug sales out of her Front Street home repeatedly during the months of October and November, as recently as Thursday evening. Police said they were working with the informant who was cooperating with the police in consideration of their own criminal charges, including heroin and domestic abuse charges. The informant identified McAllister as “Beth,” and told police they didn’t know her last name.
Various Bellows Falls police officers monitored the informant while he went to 27 Front Street, or a location nearby, and bought heroin from McAllister with money provided by the police department.
Brown said that McAllister was charged with four counts of sale of heroin, all felonies, two felony counts of possession of heroin, and one count of a prohibited person in possession of a gun. The heroin counts each carry a potential sentence of five years in jail.
When arrested, police confiscated McAllister’s pocketbook, where they found 62 glassine envelopes containing heroin, as well as about $1,600 in cash. McAllister told the police she earned the money “mowing lawns” as a joke.
The deputy county prosecutor said that he and Windham County State’s Attorney Tracy Kelly Shriver had been working with the Bellows Falls Police Department on several drug investigations at the request of Chief David Bemis.
The Bellows Falls police have come under a lot of public complaints this year for the lack of action on what residents describe as widespread drug dealing. At least two residents said they want to start a community group to get the police department’s attention on the matter.
Bemis, who couldn’t be reached for comment Friday due to a death in his family, is trying to initiate “more complex investigations” involving illegal drug dealing in Bellows Falls, Brown said.
Bellows Falls Police Sgt. Mario Checchi, who was the lead investigator in the McAllister case, couldn’t be reached for comment on Friday.
Also assisting the Bellows Falls Police Department was the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Brown said. “We are grateful for the assistance provided to the BFPD,” he said.
He declined to say whether there were other active investigations into drug dealing in Bellows Falls.
Brown said McAllister is related to Zachariah McAllister, a convicted Westminster drug dealer who lead law enforcement on a two-state chase in September 2019, and is now serving time in a federal prison.
Elizabeth McAllister had previous drug convictions, in 1995 and more recently in 2015. She was on probation at the time of her arrest on Thursday night.
Two teenagers were found in her apartment at the time of the police search warrant into her home on Thursday, but Judge John Treadwell failed to find probable cause to support a charge of cruelty to a child.