Lawyer argues search warrant was invalid

BENNINGTON — A lawyer for a local man accused of trafficking heroin will argue a search warrant executed at his residence was invalid.

Deven Moffitt, 27, has denied four felony charges stemming from a search of his Mortimer Street apartment last July that turned up nearly 500 bags of heroin. His attorney has filed a motion to suppress the evidence, claiming Bennington officers didn't have substantial evidence to be granted a search warrant. William W. Cobb, during a hearing in Vermont Superior Court Bennington Criminal Division on Tuesday, said a named informant that spoke with officers was not credible.

Judge William D. Cohen said he was uncomfortable hearing oral arguments without having Moffitt present for the hearing: Moffitt was not transported from Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, where's he been held on $25,000 bail since his July 2016 arraignment in Rutland. Cohen said another hearing will be scheduled so Moffitt can attend.

Judge David A. Howard granted Bennington police a warrant on July 15, 2016. Officers searched Moffitt's apartment the same day. Police found 490 bags of heroin, 1.5 grams of cocaine, and 11 strips and two pills of Suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction. Were the heroin to have been sold, it would have garnered $9,800, at the price of $20 per bag, according to a court affidavit.

Cobb wrote in his motion to suppress, originally filed June 26, that police "took no steps to corroborate any of the information" given by an informant named in the application for a warrant. "The police did none of the ordinary investigative measures to corroborate the informant's statements," he wrote.

Moffitt has pleaded not guilty to felony heroin trafficking, conspiracy to sell drugs, and attempted sale of heroin and heroin possession, and misdemeanor cocaine possession.

Ed Damon can be reached at, at @edamon_banner on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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