BENNINGTON -- Four people were arrested Friday after police in body armor, carrying assault rifles, executed a search warrant at 216 North St.
Police found heroin, prescription medication, firearms, and cash inside the building. The four people who were arrested were not named, but police said they plan to charge those four with heroin possession, heroin sale, sale of regulated drugs, and conspiracy.
Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette said in a release it was believed the apartment was a "major source of heroin being sold in Bennington."
More arrests and criminal charges are expected as the investigation continues, according to Doucette.
In addition to the Bennington Police Department Special Response Team, other members of the Bennington Police, Bennington county Sheriff's Department, and Vermont State Police were involved in conducting the search.
These arrests come nearly on the one-year anniversary of "Operation County Strike," the largest drug sweep in Vermont's history. One-hundred officers from multiple agencies sought to arrest approximately 63 suspected drug dealers in Bennington County.
For months members of the Vermont Drug Task Force used confidential informants to gather evidence against suspected drug dealers. Police spent all day tracking down their suspects, arresting them, and then sending them directly to Vermont Superior Court Bennington Criminal Unit for arraignment. More than 40 suspects were arrested that day, with additional suspects either turning themselves in the next day or having previously incarcerated.
In September, "Operation Strike Two" targeted less suspects, arresting 16 people in a similar fashion, based on the same type of investigations.
Vermont Drug Task Force leaders said the sweeps targeted low to mid level dealers, with the intent behind them being to disrupt the drug supply chain which police believe to stem from the Albany/Troy, N.Y. area.
In his state of the state address earlier this month, Gov. Peter Shumlin made opiate addiction the focus of the speech. According to a recent article by VT Digger.org, Shumlin has also proposed to spend $10 million next year on opiate addiction treatment and prevention.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.