Three out of five arrested Friday arraigned on drug charges


BENNINGTON -- Three of the five people arrested Friday on Main Street in connection with a drug investigation were arraigned Monday and held on high bail amounts.

Frank A. Chinnici, 26, of Brooklyn, N.Y., Michael T. Thomas, 53, of Bennington, and Mary S. Smith, 27, also of Bennington, pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court to felony heroin possession and two misdemeanor counts of possession of a narcotic.

Chinnici and Thomas were held for lack of $75,000 bail, while Smith was held for lack of $100,000 bail. Court records showed the could post either cash or surety bonds.

Lucretia Thomas, 34, has had similar charges filed against her but will be arraigned Tuesday because of conflicts of interests between local attorneys representing the other defendants. She is being held without bail, because these new allegations constitute an alleged violation of her probation. According to Bennington Police, she and Smith were on probation for drug convictions when they were arrested.

Tina L. Walsh, 53, was listed as a co-defendant with the other four, but there was no record of her being cited or charged in the local criminal court. Bennington Police said she was not take in to custody with the others, but told to turn herself in at the Bennington Police Department later on Friday.

According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer Keith Diotte, on Thursday he was granted a search warrant for 715 Main St. Apartment Two because of a drug investigation. The next say at 8:30 a.m. Bennington Police, the Department of Corrections, and Department of Motor Vehicles who supplied a drug dog, searched the apartment where all but Chinnici lived.

All five were in the apartment at the time, police said.

Chinnici told police there were drugs under the couch in the living room. Police found 98 small bags of heroin there, plus nine Percocet tablets and two Codeine tablets in a rear bedroom. Both are classified as opiates.

According to Smith, Chinnici brings drugs to the apartment from Brooklyn, N.Y., several times a month. She went with him once in April. Michael Thomas went once, too, she said, but their vehicle was involved in a crash and so they took a bus to Albany, N.Y., where she picked them up and brought them to Bennington.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.


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