Largest Drug Bust in State

There’s a list of 64 names posted by the State Police (list here). The names in red are still at large after a drug sweep, centered in Bennington, led to the largest number of arrests in a single operation in state history. The list also shows who is still in custody and who has been released as well as the charges filed. A few are only nick names, like “Tito” accused of selling crack cocaine and still at large.

The investigation lasted six months – gathering all the details needed to make a coordinated sweep of offenders. With this many suspects, not all could be counted on to even be in town when the bust went down. Some got a phone call instead, asking them to turn themselves in.

Reporting from WCAX quoted Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette, who said, “We are not done in Bennington. We will continue to work hard, pushing back and keeping the less desirables out of the community."

Most of the charges are for possession of heroin, cocaine or crack, with selling drugs also common. There are some 300 charges levied in total. Bennington was being overrun with low-level street dealers and according to reports, they asked for state help. This started up the investigation and has led to the record number of arrests.

Penalties for the crimes have a broad range, with some of those arrested already released, some retained for trial and several facing possible habitual offender charges, a “three strikes you’re out” type law that might mean life in prison.

It’s difficult to know what, if any, long term effects of this record-breaker will be. In a perfect world, removing the lower level dealers would clean up the town, old west style. In reality, the addicts are still out there, looking for product, and sooner or later, the supply chain will reemerge. The cycle can only really be broken if the number of users is reduced through treatment and prevention.

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