Mother and Daughter Arrested in Drug Bust
Maplewood Police seize drugs, cash in a bust near Columbia High School.
Maplewood Police detectives arrested a mother and daughter after searching their Academy Street home and seizing over a half pound of marijuana, prescription narcotic pills, and an undisclosed amount of cash last week, according to Police Chief Robert Cimino.
Police discovered the drugs and cash while serving a search warrant for the house, on the 500 block of Academy Street, near Columbia High School. They arrested Michele Alphonso-Nutter, 43 and her daughter Chavier Alphonso, 19. They were charged with drug possession, possession near a school property and possession with the intent to distribute, along with possession of drug paraphernalia.
"This was the result of an ongoing investigation," said Chief Cimino, who said there had been several reports about suspicious activity at the house over a period of time. The arrests took place on August 22.
Cimino said the amount of marijuana discovered was "indicative of an amount for distribution." He said detectives were concerned by the house's proximity to the high school.
According to arrest records, the mother was released on $25,000 bail; no information was available about the daughter.
The residence was the site of an armed robbery home invasion in March, during which a resident reported that several men forced their way into the house at gunpoint and demanded cash. That investigation is ongoing; no suspects have been arrested.
When asked if the two crimes were connected, Chief Cimino said, "In many cases when we do have a home invasion we find they are not random incidents."
Cimino said drug busts were not common in Maplewood. He also said, "I can't remember in my experience having a mother and daughter involved in this activity."
The chief urged residents to report suspicious activity in their neighborhoods, and not to be "frustrated" if they do not see immediate results.
"It takes time to develop sufficient cause to execute a warrant," said Cimino. "It is not as quick as people see it happen on TV."
He said that residents should call the detective bureau to report suspicous activity and should keep notes (such as writing down license plate numbers). He cautioned that residents should not confront anyone or put themselves in danger.
"If activity happens over a period of time, that will (lead) to an investigation," said Cimino.