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Winooski Crack Bust - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Winooski Crack Bust

Winooski, Vermont -- July 27, 2004

Police raided a South Burlington motel early Monday morning night and made several arrests in connection with a suspected New York City-based cocaine ring.

It is the latest chapter in a drug investigation that began with a routine arrest in Winooski that has now become that city's biggest drug case in years, according to police.

For months police in Chittenden County have warned that cocaine trafficking is making a dramatic comeback.

Winooski police say they've been so busy with coke cases they have already run out of drug-investigation money just halfway through the year.

Law enforcement officers from Winooski, Essex, South Burlington, the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms raided a second-floor room at the University Inn.

Police say they found seven people in the room, as well as a large amount of cash, 51 grams of crack cocaine, and firearms. Police declined to reveal any specific details claiming that publicizing the information could jeopardize the on-going investigation in New York City.

"The suppliers are from the New York City area, but they don't stay in Winooski. They're staying in different areas, motels, this one in particular happened to be in South Burlington,' said Winooski Deputy Chief Rich Benoit.

Matthew Monaghan, 16, Winooski, was cited into court.He denied charges of cocaine possession at a Tuesday hearing.

Ronald Saunders, 28, of the Bronx was arrested. He denied multiple charges of cocaine possession and was ordered held on bail set at $10,000.

Authorities claim Saunders is part of a Bronx-based cocaine ring that recently set up business in northern Vermont.

Police say this drug case is the latest in a string of drug investigations that has completely depleted the city of Winooski's drug fighting fund.

"We've expended $5,000 in drug purchases in the last three months alone," said Benoit. "But make no mistake. We'll continue to do our job and will continue to purchase drugs and arrest people for distribution." he added.

Brian Joyce - Channel 3 News

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