Crime and Justice

Feds, state and local police carry out early morning drug raids in Springfield

A state police trooper directs traffic Wednesday morning around Valley Street in Springfield. Photo by Ethan Weinstein/VTDigger

Updated at 5:43 p.m.

An early morning drug sweep in Springfield Wednesday saw federal, state and local law enforcement agencies descend on the town in what one resident described as a chaotic scene as police and military-like vehicles swarmed her neighborhood.

The FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Homeland Security carried out “court-ordered arrest warrants” on Valley Street, working with Vermont State Police and Springfield police. According to a state police press release, law enforcement raided “three locations on Valley Street related to an ongoing investigation into illegal drug activity.” 

Just before 5 p.m., state police issued a second release, indicating that police departments in Brattleboro, Windsor and Lebanon, New Hampshire, had contributed to the investigation. The statement also said the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Burlington would provide more information at the “appropriate” time. 

Fabienne Boisvert-DeFazio, public affairs officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont, declined to comment on the operation in Springfield. “We expect to issue a brief press release tomorrow,” she wrote in an email.

It was not clear whether authorities made arrests at the scene or how many suspects were targeted in the raids. 

As of 4:30 p.m., there were no filed or unsealed records in federal court related to the operation.

Valley Street, which connects to the heart of Springfield, has been the center of local crime in recent months. Shootings, drugs and the discovery of a pipe bomb have all spurred arrests.

“At first I just heard a really loud bang with a pause of silence, and then two more loud bangs and then yelling and commotion,” Alisyn Pinney, a Valley Street resident, told VTDigger. “When I looked out the window there were big military vehicles, with a lot of police.”

According to Pinney, the police activity began minutes before 6 a.m. Law enforcement instructed nearby residents to stay inside, she said. 

“A huge vehicle had a spot light shining in our neighbor’s house,” she said. “I didn’t see anyone arrested because it was dark and chaotic-seeming. The street was lined up and down with law enforcement.”

Around 9:30 a.m., a state police trooper was directing through-traffic onto Pleasant Street, circumventing the portion of Valley Street where the raid took place. The partial road closure ended before 10 a.m.

A Vermont State Police Scuba team was spotted in Springfield on Wednesday, November 30, 2022, diving in the Connecticut River. Ethan Weinstein/VTDigger

Later in the day, Vermont State Police scuba teams were seen in Springfield at Hoyt’s Landing, with a diver in the Connecticut River. Troopers on the scene said they were “looking for evidence” but said the dive was not related to the morning’s Valley Street operation. 

Neither state nor local police responded to requests for more information about the dive teams’ activities. 

Alan Keays contributed reporting.

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