BARRE – A Granite City woman has picked up drug charges after a fatal overdose last week.

Alysha M. Wood, 27, pleaded not guilty Monday in Washington County criminal court in Barre to misdemeanor counts of cocaine possession and dispensing regulated drugs out of a dwelling. If convicted, Wood faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison. She was released on conditions.

Detective James Pontbriand, of the Barre City police, said in his affidavit a female was reported unresponsive on Summer Street Wednesday. Pontbriand said it was suspected the female had overdosed.

He said he arrived on scene and another officer was in the process of giving the woman Narcan. Pontbriand said he recognized the woman from prior encounters as Melanie Blair, 43. He said she was found on her back in the hallway at the top of the stairs.

Pontbriand said the Narcan didn’t work so another officer started CPR. He said emergency medical service workers arrived and transported Blair to Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin where she was pronounced dead.

Pontbriand said the death was suspicious because where Blair was found is known by police as a place where drug activity had been taking place recently. He said Blair’s purse was found next to her, but police couldn’t find her cellphone or her identification.

Pontbriand said he believed someone had placed Blair where police found her and took her cellphone to keep from being connected to any criminal activity connected to her death.

Pontbriand said he spoke to Cpl. Jonathan Houle, who works on the city’s street crimes unit, who reported he had been aware of drug activity at the apartment building and had been in the process of acquiring search warrants. He said Wood lived in one of the apartments. After hearing of Blair’s death, Pontbriand said Houle obtained a search warrant for Wood’s home.

Inside the apartment, Pontbriand said police found drug paraphernalia consistent with drug distribution, such as plastic baggies, a scale and glassine baggies used to store heroin found in a dresser. In one of the bedrooms he said police found several syringes stuck into a mattress on the floor as well as a baggie that contained a substance that field tested positive for cocaine.

Pontbriand said hours after the search Wood called police about the search. He said she was aware police had executed the search warrant and was aware police likely found baggies and the scale, but was not concerned. He said she was also unconcerned when told she may face criminal drug charges if the substance found in her apartment tested positive.

He said the cocaine weighed 2.5 grams.


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