Bristol is battling a growing heroin problem and the chief of police say the dealers are capitalizing on shrinking public safety budgets.
"The bad guy knows that we're understaffed and overtaxed, so they find the Bristol area is a ripe area for burglaries to support drug habits and drug dealing," Chief Kevin Gibbs said.
On Tuesday, a trio of drug-related crimes kept Bristol police busy for hours. The first incident involved a pair of heroin users, weapons and $800 in counterfeit cash.
"Their plan was to go to the Addison County Field Days and spend that money," Gibbs said.
Police got wind of the plan and intercepted the couple's car outside the Almost Home Market.
"We had to reposition from where we had setup to there, so we had a few officers that were running around properties with weapons out," Gibbs explained.
Police removed a child from the car and the driver, Mildred Martin, 29, of Bristol, was arrested for carrying drugs. But police say the fake cash and guns were gone.
Moments later, the Vermont Drug Task Force asked Bristol to help them arrest a big time heroin dealer servicing Bristol and Vergennes. Police executed a search warrant at a home in the village and a woman was arrested. But police are not releasing her name.
"Near the end of that search we were asked to check a vehicle that had stopped near where the suspect was stopped on the Lincoln Road," Gibbs said.
That's when police say a third vehicle, driven by Richard Lattrell, 45, pulled up to the scene and tried to hit an officer.
"He was able to get out of the way but he was nearly run over by another vehicle coming in the other direction," Gibbs said.
Police chased Lattrell up Lincoln Road past a popular swimming hole to Elder Hill. He abandoned his car and police lost him in the woods. Lattrell was later arrested on multiple charges after he returned to the police station to report his car stolen. The chief says he hopes these arrests send a clear message to the criminals.
"We may be down, but we're not out," Gibbs said. "You can play in the Bristol area or anywhere in the Addison County area, but if you're not careful, you are going to get caught."
Despite dwindling resources, police say they'll continue their push to drive drugs out of the community.
Thursday, December 12 2013 12:02 PM EST2013-12-12 17:02:24 GMT
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