Police say they busted three people Monday morning in a Rutland hotel with a loaded gun, heroin and cocaine.
Vermont State Police, working off a tip, entered a room of the Holiday in on Route 7.
"It developed through a confidential informant who provided us some information regarding an individual distributing illegal narcotics in the area," said Vermont State Police Trooper Jason Johnson.
That individual, Tiante Branch of Troy, N.Y., known on the streets of Rutland as "Devil," was found in the hotel room along with two others -- both aged 32 -- Thaniya Williams of the Bronx and Quincy Collins also of Troy. "They were set up in the hotel room for the purpose of distributing narcotics," Trooper Johnson said.
Police say one big clue -- they found money that state drug investigators used to follow the drug deals. "There was one hundred dollars in U.S. currency that was located in the hotel room and the serial numbers on those bills were matched to pre-recorded funds that had been used for a controlled purchase that was conducted by the state police," Trooper Johnson said.
According to police records, troopers found nearly 68.2 grams of cocaine and 153 bags of heroin in the pockets of Collins' pants -- those drugs have a combined street value of over 12-thousand dollars in Vermont. Troopers say that's four to five times more than the drugs go for in Brooklyn, New York. "It's all about money, the amount of money that can be made in this area is astronomical," Trooper Johnson said.
Also in the room, a loaded handgun belonging to Tiante Branch, which police say is not uncommon in the narcotics industry. "The narcotics business, if that's what you'd like to call it, is and can be a very dangerous business. It's all about the money and in part I believe they typically keep the firearms for their own protection," Trooper Johnson said.
And though she didn't have any drugs on her, police records state thousands of dollars in Thaniya William's purse and Western Union receipt for a transfer of 2-thousand dollars to a man in New York led them to believe she was aiding in the commission of a felony. "It's fairly common among drug distributors to use Western Union to transfer money -- it prevents them from having to hold onto large sums of cash all at once," Trooper Johnson said.
All three were arraigned Monday in Rutland District Court. Collins is being held on half-a-million dollars bail. Branch is being held on 50-thousand. Williams is free until trial.
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