Authorities shut down regional drug ring
October 26, 2011Gilford police, along with state law enforcement agencies, executed a search warrant after a four-month-long investigation at the Mardi Gras North Cabaret Tuesday, Oct. 18, just before 9 p.m.
According to a press release issued last week by Det. Christopher Jacques, Gilford Police arrested Kyme Locke, 37, of Concord; Dana Zizzo, 22, of Laconia; and Sherry Barnhart, 21, of Campton, all at Mardi Gras North in Gilford.
Additionally, Holderness police arrested Shauna Martin, 23, of Holderness; Franklin Police arrested Scott Tripp, 39, and Jessica Sargent, 35, both of Franklin; and Tilton Police arrested Justin Ainsley, 21, of Norwood, Mass.
According to Jacques, all were arrested on a felony warrant for the sale of controlled or narcotic drugs.
In addition to the seven arrests, Jacques stated that sizeable amounts of cocaine, unlawfully possessed prescription medication, cash, and a stolen firearm were seized. Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, Jacques could not specify as to the amount of controlled or narcotic drugs seized.
Assisting Gilford Police in executing the search warrant at Mardi Gras North were the New Hampshire Attorney General's Drug Task Force, as well as the New Hampshire State Police Special Weapons and Tactics Unit and the Belknap Regional Special Operations Group.
According to Jacques, all official documents pertaining to the investigation have been sealed by court order for 120 days in case police are to make additional arrests. Jacques said this was typical of this sort of investigation, though the length of time may vary.
As to the accusations of police misconduct during the investigation that have been circulating in the local press since last week's raid at the Mardi Gras, Jacques said he stands by Gilford Police Chief Kevin Keenan's word that officers acted appropriately given the nature of the situation.
"I have no issues with what law enforcement officers did that evening," said Jacques.
Jacques explained that in that sort of situation, there are certain variables, such as people hiding behind locked doors with weapons, which may threaten the safety of officers involved. Their safety, he said, is the number-one priority.
According to Jacques, officers are trained to get through locked doors in the most timely manner, and eliminate any possible threat.
"Efforts were made for keys," said Jacques.
He explained, however, that when the keys requested were not produced, officers were forced to employ alternative measures to accomplish their goals.
According to Jacques, these highly trained officers had a detailed plan prior to the execution of the search warrant, and they stuck to it.
Gilford's Board of Selectmen planned to discuss the revocation of the Mardi Gras North Cabaret's entertainment permit at their meeting Wednesday, Oct. 26. A full report on that meeting, which took place after the deadline for today's edition of the Steamer, will appear in next week's issue.