BENNINGTON — A North Bennington man accused of trafficking drugs and guns as well as threatening his alleged mistress with a gun was held without bail Monday after pleading not guilty to multiple serious charges.
Olanda Fitz, 28, of Granger Hollow Road, pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court Criminal Division Bennington Unit to first degree aggravated domestic assault with a weapon, cocaine trafficking, cocaine sale or delivery, cocaine possession, possessing a weapon in the commission of a crime, and misdemeanor counts of prohibited acts, and reckless endangerment.
Judge Cortland Corsones ordered him held without bail on the domestic assault charge and placed $500,000 bail upon him for the drug trafficking and cocaine sale counts. A bail hearing will be scheduled to determine what, if any, combination of bail and conditions Fritz can be released on to ensure public safety and future court appearances.
Fitz's wife, Amanda Fitz, 31, was also arraigned, pleading not guilty to misdemeanor cocaine possession. She was placed under $5,000 bail.
According to an affidavit by Vermont State Police, in February they received information from a number of people saying that Fitz, also know as "Fritz," "Magnum," and "Degango," was selling crack cocaine and heroin in and around Bennington and Hoosick Falls, N.Y.
Vermont State Police, New York State Police, Hoosick Falls Police, Bennington Police, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives worked together to obtain more information on Fitz. According to them, Fitz has been accepting firearms and sexual favors as payment for drugs, moves firearms between Brooklyn, N.Y., Albany, N.Y., and Vermont, hides drugs and guns on the property he owns on Granger Hollow Road, and is always in possession of a semi-automatic handgun.
Police said Fitz has asked people to purchase firearms for him from a gun shop in Bennington. They did not specify which one.
Witnesses told police they routinely saw Fitz having short meetings with people near his property, making quick "hand-to-hand" exchanges with the visitor then hastily driving away.
People who claimed to have bought drugs from Fitz said the cocaine he sells is "chunky," leading them to believe it was cut from a much larger piece. They said he also sells heroin by the gram instead of the bag, making them feel he has access to much large amounts of heroin than the typical dealer.
Many of Fitz's neighbors refused to provide police with written statements about what they may or may not have seen, citing their fear of the man.
In May and June, police were at his property responding to complaints of numerous gunshots. Fitz showed police where he had been shooting and they observed several ".223/5.56 NATO, .40, .45., and. 22 cal" shell casings on the ground.
On July 5, a woman went to Hoosick Falls Police to report than on July 3 Fitz threatened her with a gun.
She said she had known Fitz for 10 months and knew he was married. The two carried on an affair which ended in June. On July 3 she got a call from Amanda Fitz asking her to come to their house in Vermont to talk. She claimed her husband would not be home. When the woman got there, Amanda Fitz asked about the affair and the woman confirmed it. Olanda Fitz then came out, pointing a gun at the woman and said "Dead girls don't talk."
Fitz allegedly told the woman he did not mind going to jail and that it would not be him getting his hands dirty. He denied having an affair and eventually the woman left.
The next day, Amanda Fitz called the woman's mother to talk about the affair. She told the mother about the gun threat and said that if anything happened to the woman that Olanda Fitz would be the one responsible.
According to the affidavit, in August 2015 the ATF investigated Fitz in connection with an attempted murder in Albany, N.Y. they believed to be drug related. Police said some of Fitz's associates had direct involvement with the attempted murder.
In talking with Fitz, police learned that he buys and uses large amounts of marijuana, going to Albany, N.Y. every two weeks to buy 1.5 ounces for $400. Police were at his house in November where an ATF agent observed that he owned an AR-15 pistol, an AK-47 rifle, seven handguns, two rifles, and two shotguns. Fitz told police he frequently trades firearms.
On July 15, troopers from the Shaftsbury barracks along with the Southern Vermont Drug Task Force, VSP Major Crimes Unites, VSP Tactical Service Unit, Vermont State Game Wardens, and Special Agents from the ATF executed a search warrant at Fitz's Granger Hollow Road property. A .40 caliber Glock 17 handgun was taken from Fitz along with $3,557 in cash.
Fitz asked why he was being arrested and was told it was to do with the July 3 incident. Fitz became upset and denied pulling a gun on the woman or threatening her, despite police never telling him this is what he was accused of. Police did tell him they had a search warrant and asked where they would find drugs. He told them to go ahead and search, that it was all gone now.
Police found $8,000 in cash in a freezer, and $5,002 in a camper located in Arlington. In the house they found 10.32 grams of cocaine and 17 firearms. Most of the guns were loaded and not secured. Police said three children under the age of 10 live in the home.
Amanda Fitz gave police 6.55 grams of cocaine, saying she had found it in the barn earlier and took it so others would not get it.
She told police that her husband is a drug dealer, that everything he owns, the house, vehicles, etc. was purchased with drug money.
She corroborated the other woman's story regarding the July 3 incident, but said she never saw Fitz point the gun at her.
While in custody, Fitz requested an attorney, stating that this was serious and that he was "screwed." He asked police how they could arrest him when they found no drugs. When told that his wife had crack cocaine he said "Oh, yeah."