From the outside, this South Burlington ranch looks no different from any other home on Proctor Avenue, but neighbors say it's what went on Inside that set the home apart.
"Basically it's a drug house it's what we call it," said Michael Ploof. Ploof and his neighbors say they've suspected drug activity for years and the non-stop flow of visitors made them nervous. "Day and night cars would pull up go over there for 10 or 15 minutes, come back, get in the car and leave," he said.
Friday morning their quiet neighborhood was turned upside down. Police and armed drug enforcement agents surrounded the home. According to court papers, authorities have been staking the place out for months. Federal agents say confidential informants working with the police helped bring down the alleged dealers. Armed with recording devices and cash, police say the informants bought an undisclosed amount of cocaine from homeowner Ryan Orvis and heroin from his roommate, Maria Hunton. Both were taken into federal custody.
"Finally after all this time. Now I know that an investigation takes awhile, but being this close to the school and being this close to us, we're happy to see something finally done about it," Ploof said.
Rice High School is just up the hill. School zone signs mark the protected territory -- steps from Orvis' front door. The principal told WCAX that the home has not posed a problem for the school in the past, but staff did make sure the scene was secure before they started the school day. Neighbors say it's the crime associated with drug dealing that makes them most uneasy.
"When we have a murder -- a drug murder, just a few blocks down here, over at the Shaws market and knowing that drug dealing is going on here, it makes it really scary," Ploof said.
Federal authorities say Orvis has a significant criminal record including a 2003 federal conviction for dealing drugs in Vermont. They say his roommates has been an active part of this drug ring for a long time. Police consider both of them dangerous and asked the court hold them without conditions of release.
Authorities would not say specifically what triggered a federal response in this case, but officials say the DEA will step in when the crime includes conspiracy across state lines or if it's a very large scale drug operation.
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