BENNINGTON — A man described by police informants as the largest "pill dealer" in the Bennington area told police that at one time he was selling $40,000 worth of prescription pills per week.
Andrew Struthers, 23, of Jefferson Avenue in Bennington, pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court Criminal Division to a felony count of depressant/stimulant/narcotic delivery of a drug above the lawful dose, conspiracy to sell a regulated drug, and possession of a depressant/stimulant/narcotic.
According to an affidavit by Vermont State Police, it was learned that Struthers had been receiving large quantities of narcotic pills from a source in another state. He would then rely on two other people to sell said pills, one of them being a Woodford woman.
On June 24, police executed a search warrant at the woman's home, her person, and her vehicle. No drugs were found, but she agreed to assist police. According to the affidavit, she was told by Trooper Lucas Hall, "To be completely honest, you're not the one I want. With that being said, I am going to give you an opportunity. You have your little girl over there and I know for a fact she has been in the car with you when you have sold pills. I know that for a fact. And you know that will look really bad when (Department of Children and Families) gets involved. The only thing that is going to make it look worse is if you are not cooperative. I am not trying to pressure you into anything. Honestly, I could not care less. I am just giving you an opportunity.
Hall, who wrote the affidavit, added that he did not threaten or promise the woman anything to gain her cooperation. He said she looked to her daughter a number of times while he spoke to her and was teary-eyed.
The woman said she sold large quantities of pills for Struthers, between 20 and 40 pills per day at $40 per pill. Struthers gave her access to a safe where he keeps pills and cash. She has seen up to 400 Percocet pills and between $5,000 and $8,000 in cash in the safe at one time, however he typically only keeps 100 Percocet and $3,000 to $5,000 inside it. She has been selling pills for Struthers for the past three years.
Throughout the affidavit, the Percocet tablets allegedly sold by Struthers were 30 mg. The benchmark legal dose in Vermont is 20 mg.
On July 15, police searched Struthers' home. They found 13 Percocet pills, each 30 mg, $1,437 in cash, a .22 caliber pistol, a 20 gage shotgun, and a rifle.
Struthers said the woman does sell pills for him. He said at the height of his drug dealing activities he was selling between 600 and 1,000 Percocet per week. Typically he buys them at $29 or $30 per 30 mg pill and sells them for $40 each, for an overall profit of between $6,000 and $10,000. He said he has been selling for about a year and a half. He told police the profits "went up his nose."
A press release from Vermont State Police indicated the woman would be cited for charges in early August.
— Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at 802-447-7567 Ext. 115