Operation County Strike, Bennington County arrest sweep for illegal drug trafficking

NEWS RELEASE — Vermont State Police
Jan. 16, 2013

Stephanie Dasaro
[email protected]


Bennington, VT – 01/16/13 – Today, January 16, 2013, Operation County Strike conducted an arrest sweep in Bennington County taking into custody 47 defendants for the distribution and sale of illicit drugs, along with several other criminal offenses.

Operation County Strike is the culmination of a six month long investigation by the Vermont Drug Task Force Mobile Enforcement Team (MET).

“The MET, a state funded legislative program sponsored by Senator Sears of Bennington, organized an unprecedented level of cooperation between Vermont law enforcement agencies employing over 100 state, local, county, and federal officers,” said Commissioner Keith Flynn, Department of Public Safety.

“It is our goal to build partnerships between state and municipal governments to keep our citizens safe and secure, we can work to stem the epidemic abuse of illicit drugs, that is driving crime and destroying the lives of too many of our eighbors,” said Colonel Tom L’Esperance, director of the Vermont State Police.

“The success of this operation is a step forward for the town of Bennington and Bennington County in its fight with drugs and crime in our community,” said Chief Paul Doucette, Bennington Police Department.

At the time of this release, Operation County Strike arrested 47 defendants; several other suspects are currently incarcerated for earlier and unrelated offenses; and detectives will continue the investigation and apprehension of the remaining targets. Today’s arrestees were transported to one of three locations, Shaftsbury Barracks, Bennington Police Department, or Bennington County Sheriff’s Department. Once processing was complete, defendants were taken directly to the Bennington County Courthouse for arraignment. Defendants are still being arraigned, at the time of this release. The Bennington County State’s Attorney will be seeking bail at arraignment; defendants that are lodged are likely to be taken to the Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility in Rutland. If convicted, each person faces between five and 20 years in prison.

A residential search warrant at 210 W. Main Street in Bennington resulted in the seizure of 83 bags of heroin, 12.5 grams of crack cocaine, and 47 30mg pills of OxyContin. Mug shots will be released when they become available. When more information becomes available, and update will be released.

No one was injured as a result of today’s operation.

Agency Contact Information:
Vermont Drug Task Force, 802-241-5360
Bennington County State’s Attorney, Erica Marthage, 802-442-8116
Bennington Police Department, Chief Paul Doucette, 802-442-1030
Bennington County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Chad Schmidt, 802-442-4900
Manchester Police Department, Chief Michael Hall, 802-362-2022
Winhall Police Department, Chief Jeffery Whitesell, 802-297-1013
Vermont State Police, Colonel Tom L’Esperance, 802-241-5000

Press Release

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