Five face indictments in Colchester drug ring

Almighty Peaks Painting

Almighty Peaks Painting on West Shore Drive in Colchester. The business from which Darrick Holmes was allegedly distributing drugs. Photo by Morgan True / VTDigger

BURLINGTON — Federal grand juries handed down indictments last month for five people allegedly involved in a drug distribution ring that authorities say operated out of a local business.

Darrick Holmes, owner of Almighty Peaks Painting, and two of his former employees are named in an eight-count indictment alleging they were involved in selling heroin over a two-year period beginning in 2015.

The West Lakeshore Drive shopping plaza where the painting company is located is owned by state Sen. Dick Mazza, D-Grand Isle. Mazza acknowledged being paid rent in cash and hearing rumors of criminal activity, but said he never witnessed any wrongdoing.

Shawn Alonso and Tamara Moody, two New York City residents, are named in a separate one-count indictment alleging possession of more than 100 grams of heroin with intent to distribute.

Though Holmes is not mentioned by name in the complaint that formed the basis for the Alonso and Moody indictment, the two were arrested behind Almighty Peaks Painting with the help of a “cooperating defendant” who had been arrested days earlier on federal heroin charges.

Holmes was arrested days earlier on federal heroin charges. The person who cooperated with federal agents to arrest Alonso and Moody did so “with the hope of receiving leniency” at sentencing on heroin distribution charges, court records show.

The cooperating defendant told investigators that Alonso and Moody would supply him with kilogram quantities of heroin and cocaine several times a month, according to an affidavit written by DEA agent Brandon Hope.

Holmes was under investigation for months, and agents reported conducting several controlled heroin purchases from him using informants. He has two previous drug-related convictions in federal court, records show.

An informant told agents that Holmes used to deal exclusively in cocaine but started selling heroin because so many of his employees used the drug “it was an easy way to pay them,” according to Hope’s affidavit.

All five of the defendants in the two separate indictments are being held pending resolution of their cases. All have pleaded not guilty to federal charges.

Holmes and the two other men named in his indictment, Joshua Jarvis and Justin Finnegan, do not appear in Vermont’s online offender locator.

Holmes’ attorney, Mark Kaplan said that’s likely because he’s being held at a jail in Lewis, New York. It’s common for people facing federal charges in Vermont to be held in out-of-state jails, Kaplan said.

Kaplan declined to comment further on the charges Holmes is facing.

Correction: An earlier version of this story provided the incorrect town in New York for the jail where Holmes is being held.

Morgan True

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