BENNINGTON -- Three arrests made in the past week have involved what police are saying are "major" drug dealers responsible for bringing heroin and other drugs into Vermont.
The recent arrests have led to police confiscating hundreds of bags of heroin and prescription medication, as well as large amounts of crack cocaine and cash.
Karim R. Chapman, 34, of Bronx, N.Y., pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Vermont Superior Court to a felony count of conspiracy to sell drugs, and a misdemeanor count of possession of a depressant.
On Friday, Fred "Frizzy" Lyons, 20, of New York, N.Y., pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to sell drugs. Chapman was held for lack of $75,000 bail while Lyons was held for lacking of $35,000 bail.
On Monday, Desmond Feurtado, 25, pleaded not guilty to heroin trafficking and was held on $150,000 bail.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Cpl. Andy Hunt, a "cooperating individual" whom the affidavit only referred to by a number, said they has known Chapman and Lyons for some time, and that they supplied the informant with Oxycodone to sell in Bennington County. The informant said Chapman and Lyons also distribute heroin and pills in Bennington County, Rutland, and Castleton.
According to the informant, they give Chapman and Lyons between $3,000 and $4,000 for 100 to 200 Oxycodone pills at each meeting.
The informant told police that Chapman was involved in robbing another drug dealer in Dorset. The informant said Chapman and others entered the dealer's residence, held them at gunpoint, tied them up, and stole $10,000 cash. This incident was never reported to police.
Police learned Chapman would be in Rutland on Sunday and was planning to meet the informant but the meeting was delayed to the following day. Police obtained a warrant to track Chapman via his cell phone, and learned he where he was in Rutland, or "Vegas" as he referred to it in text messages.
Bennington and Rutland Police searched a room at the Quality Inn on South Main Street in Rutland at 3 a.m. Tuesday where they found Chapman, 70 Clonazepam pills, marijuana, and $13,731 in cash.
His 2008 Cadillac Escalade was also searched, but all police found was an unusual amount of air fresheners.
Police said Chapman has an extensive criminal history related to drug sales, and is currently on federal probation for cocaine sales.
Lyons was arrested in Rutland on Thursday by Vermont State Police. The vehicle he was in was pulled over at a traffic stop. With him were two people, one being Chapman's wife. The group said they were en route to the Marble Valley Correctional Facility to bail out Chapman. Police said there was a strong odor of marijuana in the vehicle, but no contraband was found.
Police said they arrested Feurtado after an informant told them how he brings heroin into the area and when. In that incident, police found three sleeves of heroin, a sleeve being 100 bags, along with crack cocaine.
"We are doing the best we can with the resources we have to slow down drug activity in Vermont," said Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette.
He noted the large, multi-agency drug sweeps conducted last year saying those operations targeted low-level distributors, but now police have learned more and have gone after the people bringing large drug shipments into Vermont through Bennington and running it north into Rutland and beyond.
Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.