Pubdate: Fri, 30 May 2008
Source: Rutland Herald (VT)
Copyright: 2008 Rutland Herald
Author: Gordon Dritschilo


BRANDON -- Almost a quarter of those named in the drug sweeps
Wednesday were from Brandon.

Brandon Police Chief Chris Brickell said the 10 people were 60
percent to 70 percent of the known drug dealers  in town.

"I'm hoping it's going to be a big deal," he said. "Several people on
the outskirts who were doing things  are not looking over their
shoulders.  Temporarily,  we've put a dent in the trade."

Eleven police agencies from the local to federal level cooperated to
bring drug and weapons charges against 41  people in the Rutland area
Wednesday. Some were already  in custody and others were still at
large. The effort  was described as the culmination of a months-long
investigation prompted by drug-related violence.

The Brandon Police Department helped with the arrests of a number of
people turned into informants for the  task force as well as with
surveillance. On Wednesday,  four officers, including Brickell, helped
make arrests.

"I picked up two here in Brandon and one in Rutland,"  Brickell

Brickell said Brandon has, like the rest of the area, seen an
increase in drug activity in recent years. He  said different places
in town appeared to serve as  distribution points, with much of the
actual dealing  taking place on the streets.

"It was getting to the point where things were getting obvious, but
it's tough having the manpower to deal  with it all," he said.

Brandon had also seen much of the sort of crime that frequently
accompanies drug abuse, Brickell said.

"We had a trend last year of a lot of burglaries related to the drugs
we have here," he said. "This year  we've been having forged and
stolen checks. We haven't  had -- I hate to say this because it brings
you bad  luck -- this year we haven't had a lot of property  crime."

Brickell said investigators' next step is to go over all the
interviews done with suspects arrested  Wednesday. He said a number of
people who were not  arrested are still on his radar, and police plan
to  follow up with multi-agency traffic enforcement,  targeting areas
they believe have heavy drug  trafficking for motor vehicle stops.

"We want to make sure they see the police presence," he

The hope, Brickell said, is that out-of-town dealers setting up shop
in Brandon will decide to relocate.

"It'll be curious to see what effect this had and what these
defendants do face," he said. "It's out of our hands at this time and
into the prosecutor's."
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