Norwich judicial marshal charged with buying, selling narcotics

A judicial marshal was escorted from his post at Superior Court in Norwich last month by local police and federal agents and charged with possessing and selling drugs that were delivered to his unlocked car in the parking lot adjacent to the courthouse.

Adam E. Clarke, 36, of 19 Thermos Ave., Norwich, was charged Dec. 15 with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of sale of a controlled substance. Police said they seized 1.8 grams of heroin/fentanyl and packaging materials from the center console of his car, along with a bottle of methadone prescribed to another person. They also seized Clarke's car and cellphone.

Clarke was released on a $10,000 nonsurety bond. His case was transferred to Geographical Area 10 court in New London, where he was due to be arraigned on Thursday. His attorney, Christopher P. Anderson, asked for a continuance because Clarke is in a drug treatment program, according to a court official. His next court date is Feb. 8.

Federal officials are involved in the investigation, and the case eventually may be moved to U.S. District Court, according to police.

Clarke, who was hired by the state Judicial Branch in August 2005, was placed on unpaid administrative leave on Dec. 19, according to Rhonda Stearley-Hebert, communications manager for the branch.

According to a police report, Clarke came to the attention of Norwich Police detectives and FBI agents in October 2017 as they conducted wiretap surveillance on the telephone of another suspect. They learned that Clarke frequently requested an amount of drugs be placed in his vehicle on the second floor of the Water Street Parking garage while he worked inside the courthouse.

The investigators placed surveillance on Clarke's car. They said Joseph "Joe-Joe" Barros would enter the car and leave narcotics there, and Clarke then would leave the courthouse and retrieve the drugs. Investigators allege that Clarke was distributing the drugs as well as using them. When Barros was unavailable to deliver drugs, Clarke would get them from a second source, Jeffrey Robillard, the investigators said.

"For the duration of his investigation, this activity would occur nearly every day court was in session," said the report.

When police called Clarke at the courthouse and requested he meet them at his car, Clarke hung up the phone and did not exit the courthouse, according to the report. Agents and detectives went into the courthouse to speak with him, and Clarke agreed to accompany them across the street. He told the investigators multiple times that he is an addict, according to the police report.

Clarke provided written consent to search his car, and was placed under arrest and handcuffed after the police found the drugs, according to the report.

Robillard, 35, of 33 Russell St., Jewett City, was arrested on the same day, according to the police report, after investigators said they watched him deliver drugs to Clarke's car. He had a prescription bottle containing 25 mg Adderall tablets, which Clarke later told the police he had traded for Robillard's methadone. Clarke said he was unaware of heroin in his car.

Robillard also was scheduled for arraignment Thursday at the Norwich courthouse. His case file had not been updated as of Thursday evening.

No information on Barros was available.

k.florin@theday.com

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