ATHOL — On Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, at approximately 7:50 a.m., Officer Craig Deveneau of the Athol Police Department was clearing from a call when he observed a woman on the back steps of Starrett Memorial Methodist Church with her belongings strewn about the stairway.
(The account and quotations in this article were taken from the printed Personnel Narrative of Officer Deveneau.)
Officer Deveneau turned his cruiser around and approached the woman who he said, “appeared to be acting somewhat anxious as she was hurrying to get her belongings back in her bag.”
Among her belongings the officer saw a clear plastic container filled with a white powdery residue (which on first sight he suspected was cocaine/crack). Also in the container was a residue covered razor blade, and Narcan, which is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
“I asked this woman for identification to which she stated she doesn’t have one as her wallet got stollen,” Officer Deveneau said. “I requested the woman get up off the steps. Upon getting away from the property on the steps I requested her name and date of birth. The female gave the name of Jessica Rogers with a date of birth of 08/19/91.”
Officer Deveneau checked with dispatch to see if Rogers had any warrants out for her arrest.
“Dispatch checked and replied that there were no warrants for Jessica Rogers,” Officer Deveneau said. “Due to Ms. Rogers’ behavior and my suspicions that she may be on some form of drugs, I requested Officer Paul Forand come to assist.”
When Officer Forand and K9 Gronk arrived on scene, Officer Deveneau prepared Gronk for a narcotics search. According to Officer Deveneau, “K9 Gronk is certified by the North American Police Work Dog Association in the odor detection of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines.”
Officer Deveneau brought Gronk over to Rogers’ belongings and gave him the search command. After a brief search that began on the steps of the church, Gronk indicated on the bag Rogers had been putting her belongings into.
“At this point, I proceeded to empty the contents of the bag,” Officer Deveneau said. “Upon looking through the contents, I found empty heroin wrappers, a glass pipe, several pieces of burnt copper Brillo [pad] (commonly used in the pipe to smoke crack cocaine), several different pills, and three forms of identification with the name of Jessica Buelow, one of which was a Department of Corrections inmate ID from another state that had a photo of the woman claiming to be Ms. Rogers when she was in fact Jessica Buelow.”
When Officer Deveneau ran a warrant check on the name “Jessica Buelow,” he found a warrant out of Marlborough District Court for Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member. Buelow, 32, is presently homeless in Athol.
“It appears Ms. Buelow provided a false name to me in an attempt to avoid being arrested on the warrant,” Officer Deveneau said. “Ms. Buelow was placed under arrest at this time.”
From the scene, Officer Deveneau recovered the suspected cocaine in the glass pipe and plastic container and several pill bottles that either had no name on them, or the name “Erin Grady” on them.
Buelow was transported to the Athol Police Department for booking.
“Ms. Buelow was processed, made a phone call, then placed in a cell,” Officer Deveneau said.
Her bail was set at $2,540.
At about 10:18 a.m., Officer Cody Vitols transported Buelow to the Franklin House of Corrections.
After reviewing the recovered items, Officer Deveneau charged Buelow with Possession of a Class B Substance, for the residue within a glass pipe and plastic bottle believed to be cocaine/crack cocaine, Possession of a Class E Substance, for a Gabapentin pill that Buelow did not have a prescription for, and Furnishing False ID to Law Enforcement, for initially providing a false name to Officer Deveneau.
Buelow was arraigned in Orange District Court on Aug. 14. Following her arraignment, she was released on her own personal recognizance under the condition that she stay free of drugs and attend drug screenings.
Buelow attended a pretrial hearing on Oct. 10.
Disclaimer: If you are wondering why the incident in this story was from August, that’s because I had to file FOIA request(s) to get the court documents for the incident. FOIAs are time consuming.