YCQM: April 21, 2013 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM: April 21, 2013

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

VERMONT MOST TRUSTED NEWS SOURCE, WCAX BRINGS YOU YOUR NEWSMAKERS, YOUR NEIGHBORS. THIS IS "YOU CAN QUOTE ME".

>> GOOD MORNING EVERYONE, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US, I'M KRISTIN CARLSON, OUR NEWSMAKER IS CHRIS COMPTON, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR VERMONT. THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

>> WE ARE HERE TO FOCUS ON THE BIG EFFORT AT YOUR OFFICE, OPIATE ADDICTION, FIGHTING CRIME. BUT A LOT OF BREAKING NEWS GOING ON RIGHT NOW. >> SO A LOT IS GOING TO CHANGE OVER THE WEEKEND, BUT AS OF NOW, WHAT DO WE KNOW, WHAT ARE VERMONT'S EFFORTS, WHAT CAN YOU TELL US?

>> FIRST OF ALL LET ME SAY MY HEART GOES OUT TO THE FAMILIES AND VICTIMS TO ALL BOSEON -- BOSTONNANS. OUR VERMONT COMMUNITY, WE FEEL FOR THE FOLKS DOWN THERE. THAT BEING SAID OUR FBI HAS BEEN ACTIVELY DEPLOYED FROM THE EARLY STAGES IN THIS. WE HAVE AN OUTSTANDING BOMB TECHNICIAN DEPLOYED DOWN THERE, AND 18 RECOVERY TEAM MEMBERS WHAT BEEN DOWN THERE.

>> WHAT ABOUT THE PHOTO IMAGES? SO MUCH HAS DEVELOPED SO FAST THEY ARE SAYING THE INVESTIGATION COULD TAKE MONTHS AND LET'S NOT RUSH TO JUDGMENT AND IT'S DEVELOPED AT A LIGHTNING PACE. WHAT WITH THE PICTURES, THE CELL PHONES --

>> THOSE HAVE BEEN CRUCIAL IN THIS, AS YOU CAN SEE BY THE RAPIDLY DEVELOPING EVENTS OF THIS MORNING, AND OUR FBI HAS BEEN DEEPLY INVOLVED IN REVIEWING SOME OF THE ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE FROM VERMONTERS DOWN AT THE MARATHON.

>> SO VERMONTERS HAVE BEEN SENDING IN PICTURES.

>> YES, THEY HAVE.

>> ANYTHING THAT HAS BEEN HELPFUL?

>> I CAN'T COMMENT ON THAT.

>> ARE YOU SURPRISED AT THE PACE OF THIS?

>> I THINK IT SHOWS WHAT LAW ENFORCEMENT CAN DO WITH COORDINATED EFFORTS. THE RESOURCES ARE TREMENDOUS. YOU SAW THAT SOME SUMMER WITH THE EFFORT MADE IN THE INVESTIGATION, THE COURIER CASE, THE RESOURCES THAT WERE DEPLOYED TO SEARCH FOR THE REMAINS, FOR EXAMPLE. WHEN YOU WORK TOGETHER, THIS IS APROPOS FOR WHAT WE TALK ABOUT TODAY. THERE IS A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF RESOURCES WE CAN APPLY. THE IMPORTANT THING IS GETTING THE RESOURCES AIMED IN THE APPROPRIATE DIRECTIONS

>> YOU'VE BEEN ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR A LONG TIME, IN THE U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE FOR THREE YEARS IN VERMONT. SO MUCH COULD CHANGE, BUT RIGHT NOW, WHAT WE KNOW IS THAT THE WHOLE CITY OF BOSTON IS IN LOCKDOWN, PLUS SOME OF THE OTHER COMMUNITIES. HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF AN EVIDENT LIKE THIS?

>> THAT IS UNPRECEDENTED IN MY EXPERIENCE. TO THAT DEGREE, I HAVE HEARD AND SEEN SITUATIONS MORE NARROWLY DRAWN WHERE THOSE KIND OF EFFORTS HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL.

>> ANYTHING THAELS THAT -- ELSE THAT VERMONTERS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THIS EFFORT?

>> THERE ARE OTHER AGENCIES BESIDES THE FBI THAT ARE DEPLOYED IN WAYS THAT I'M NOT GOING TO TALK ABOUT HERE TO ASSIST, AND YOU KNOW, I REACHED OUT TO THE U.S. ATTORNEY IN BOSTON AND OFFERED HER HER OUR OFFICE WAS ASSISTANCE SO AWFULLY WAOUS WANT TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO HELP IN THAT SITUATION.

>> YOU REFERENCED ONE OF THE BIG ISSUES WE WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT. THIS IS THIS NEW COORDINATED EFFORT AMONG, ACROSS AGENCIES, LOCAL, STATE, FEDERAL, TO FIGHT WHAT SOME ARE CALLING THE BIGGEST PUBLIC SAFETY THREAT. OUR LEGAL REPORTER, JENNIFER REDDING, HAS THIS BACKGROUND REPORT:

>> A MID-LEVEL HEROINE HABIT COULD COST $90,000 A YEAR TO SUPPORT.

>> OPIATE ADDICTION. ITS ASSOCIATED CRIME AFFECTS EVERY COMMUNITY IN THE STATE. HUNDREDS OF HOMES, BURGLARIZED. STOLEN GOOD, PAWNED FOR DRUG MONEY. BIG CITY DEALERS WITH TIES TO ORGANIZED CRIME ARE SETTING UP SHOP IN THE GREEN MOUNTAINS TO MAKE QUICK CASH IT'S ECONOMICS. IF THEY COULDN'T MAKE MONEY ME WOULDN'T BE HERE.

>> POLICE AROUND PITTMAN COUNTY JOIN POLICE AND FEDERAL AUTHORITIES TO ANNOUNCE A RENEWED WAR ON HEROINE. THEY ANNOUNCE DRUG TRAFFICKERS WILL BE CHARGED FEDERALLY AND PROMISE TO BEEF UP INTERAGENCY FOOT PATROLS IN AFFECTED NEIGHBORHOODS.

>> YOU SAY -- MAY SEE BURLINGTON FX WALKING TOGETHER, WE HAVE SPEAKING ACROSS JURISDICTIONAL BOUNDARIES, WHETHER IT BE STATE OR FEDERAL.

>> THE COLLABORATIVE EFFORT BETWEEN THESE TEAMS START BURLINGTON LAST FALL. SINCE THEN POLICE SAY THEY'VE WORKED TOGETHER TO ARREST SMUGGLERS USING THE MEGA BUS AND ARRESTING DRUG DYNASTIES IN SCHOOL ZONES. ALTHOUGH HEROINE IS NOT A NEW PROBLEM FEDERAL AND STATE COOPERATION IS -- COOPERATION IS ONE WAY TO SHOW TAXPAYERS THAT MONEY IS BEING USED TO COORDINATE THE IMPACTING OF THE PUBLIC THREAT.

>> THERE IS A MULTI-FACETED APPROACH.

>> AUTHORITIES ADMIT THEPLICITY WORK CANNOT WIPE OUT THE DEMAND BUT TREATMENT MUST BE PART OF THE SOLUTION.

>> THOSE SUFFERING FROM ADDICTION, WE'VE SIMPLY GOT TO REDUCE THE PROBLEM.

>> A NEW APPROACH TO DRUG TREATMENT, CALLED THE HUB AND SPOKE MODEL, WITH FIVE DIFFERENT TREATMENT FACILITIES STATEWIDE AIMED TO CHANGE THAT.

>> THOSE FACILITIES WILL BE PLACES WHERE INDIVIDUALS CAN COME IN, HAVE AN ASSESSMENT, MAKE A DETERMINATION ABOUT THE NEED AND WHAT IS THE MOST HELPFUL PREVENTION STRATEGY.

>> IN BURLINGTON, OFFICIALS HOPE TO HAVE FOUR ADDITIONAL SITES STATEWIDE ONLINE IN THE NEXT SIX MONTHS, BUT TREATMENT PROFESSIONALS SAY IT COULD BE UP TO TWO YEARS TO COMPLETELY CLEAR TREATMENT BACKLOGS. JENNIFER REDDING, CHANNEL THREE NEWS IN BURLINGTON. SO LET'S START WITH WHEN DID THIS PROBLEM REALLY GET SO BAD?

>> WELL, I THINK ABOUT TWO OR THREE YEARS AGO, WE SAW A SIGNIFICANT UPSURGE IN USE OF OPIATE PRECIPITATION PH-D INDICATIONS AND POLICE WERE SEEING THAT PROBLEM INCREASING ON THE STREET. REALLY, THAT WAS A BIT OF A PREDICTOR FOR THE PROBLEM WE'RE IN NOW, BECAUSE ONCE YOU GET AN ADDICT POPULATION, REALLY HOOKED INTO OPIATES, THERE COMES A TIME WHERE HEROINE WILL A AN UPSURGE BECAUSE PEOPLE WILL HAVE A SURGE TO HEROINE BECAUSE THE PRECIPITATIONS ARE MORE SIGNIFICANTLY -- SIGNIFICANTLY MORE EXPENSIVE THAN HEROINE.

>> THERE IS TALK ABOUT HOW OPIATE ADIRECTION HAS DECREASED THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN CERTAIN CITIES. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT, EXPLAIN WHAT THAT IS AND HOW YOU ARE TAB LING -- TACKLING THAT ISSUE.

>> TO SUPPORT A HEROINE ADDICTION OR OPIATE ADDICTION TO PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS THERE IS AN INCREDIBLE EXPENSE.

>> $09,000 A YEAR FOR SOME HABITS!

>> THAT'S THE MATH IF YOU BREAK IT DOWN.

>> THAT WAS STAGGERING.

>> $10 A BAG, $20 A BAG FOR HEROINE, AND YOU'RE USING 10, 20 BAGS OF HEROINE A DAY, AND YOU DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO GET THAT. THERE'S A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF ANSHRAER -- ANCILLARY CRIME WITH THAT. YOU SEE IT IN CONVENIENT STORE BREAK INS, PROPERTY CRIMES, AND THAT AFFECTS THE FABRIC OF OUR COMMUNITIES.

>> LOOKING BACK, YOU KNOW THIS AS WELL, BEING FROM VERMONT, PRACTICING LAW IN VERMONT, THIS HAS BEEN A LONG TERM PROBLEM. THERE HAS BEEN THE DEA, THE DRUG FORCE, THE DRUG TASK FORCE, THE DRUG UNIT. DID SOMEONE ALONG THE WAY DROP THE BALL ON THIS AND IT MUSHROOMED IN THE LAST TWO, THREE YEARS?

>> I WOULD SAY THAT DRUG PROBLEMS TEND TO BE CYCLICAL. AND THEY ARE COMPLEX IN THEIR ROOTS. SO EARLY IN 2000, WE HAD MANY OF PARTS IN VERMONT, THE BIGGEST SURGE IN HEIR WANE EVER -- WE HAD A BIG UPSURGE IN THE EARLY 2000S THROUGH CONCENTRATED LAW ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS, WE PUSHED THAT DOWN. A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THE COURSE OF THAT, THAT DID THAT DRUG TREATMENT, AND IT KIND OF WENT AWAY A LITTLE BIT. THERE WAS A PERIOD OF TIME WHERE WE WERE DEALING WITH OTHER PROBLEMS IN TERMS OF DRUG CRIME -- DRUG CRIME AT THE FEDERAL AND STATE LEVEL, BUT HEIR QUIN AND -- HEIR WEN AND OPIATES WERE NOT AS PREVALENT. ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO, I WOULD SAY THE INFLUX OF PRECIPITATION MEDICATIONS REALLY STARTED TO GET THE OPIATE ADIRECTION PROCESS GOING IN A BIG WAY, AND WE WERE SEEING DRUG ABUSE EMERGING ON THE STREET, IN COMMUNITIES AND TREATMENT CENTERS, AND PEOPLE WHO WERE INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS, LAW ENFORCEMENT SIDE AND TREATMENT SIDE, STARTED NOTING THAT AND SAYING WE'VE GOT A PROBLEM HERE, THIS IS GOING TO GO TO HEROINE VERY QUICKLY. FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE FALL OF 2010, WE SPONSORED A STATEWIDE OPIATE ABUSE CONFERENCE, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FROM THE UNITED STATES, THE SENATOR SPOKE AT TOGETHER, ALL SORTS OF EXPERTS FROM THE PREVENTION TREATMENT, LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMUNITY, STATE, FEDERAL, LOCAL, NATIONAL EXPERTS, TO TALK ABOUT THIS PROBLEM, KIND OF LET PEOPLE KNOW THIS WAS GOING ON, AND TO GET READY FOR THIS, AND IT HAS PROGRESSED AS EXPECTED, AND YOU KNOW, WE NEED TO TKOEFRG WE CAN TO PUSH IT BACK.

>> YOU KNOW THIS IS A PERENNIAL PROBLEM AND ONE OF THE BIGGEST STICKING POINTS IS TREATMENT. YOU NEED TO STOP THE DEMAND. YOU HEARD THE CHIEF OF POLICE SAY, 700 PEOPLE WAITING FOR METHADONE IN CRIPMAN COUNTY. HOW DO YOU TACKLE THE TREATMENT PROBLEM AND STOPPING THIS BEFORE IT BALLOON?

>> THAT'S A KEY PART OF THE EQUATION, BECAUSE WE CAN AND NEED TO DO WHAT WE ARE ABLE TO DO IN THE LAW ENFORCEMENT SIDE TO REDUCE THE SUPPLY, AND TO DETER PEOPLE FROM BRINGING HEROINE INTO VERMONT AND SELLING IT, AND SELLING IT ONCE IT'S HERE. BUT ON THE DEMAND SIDE, WE HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION TO THAT. AND IT'S FUNDAMENTALLY A RESOURCE PROBLEM. AND OF COURSE, REMEMBER THE TIME WHENO WE'RE IN A TIME WHEN RESOURCES ARE SCARCE, BUT I THINK OUR COMMUNITIES, BOTH AT A NATIONAL LEVEL AND LOCAL LEVEL, REALLY NEED TO UNDERSTAND WE'RE NOT GOING TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM OR PUT IT DOWN SPOKE A MANAGEABLE LEVEL UNTIL WE ARE SERIOUS ABOUT DEDICATING RESOURCES TO DRUG TREATMENT.

>> AND THERE IS A PLANNED OPIATE TREATMENT FACET IN RUTLAND. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT AND HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY AGAINST IT? I KNOW THERE'S BEEN CONTROVERSY ABOUT IT, THE METHADONE CLINIC OPENING. THERE ARE QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT WILL THE COMMUNITY LOOK LIKE IF IT DOESN'T COME TO RUTLAND.

>> THE COMMUNITY WOULD HAVE SOME OF THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF WIDESPREAD OPIATE ADDICTION AND HEROINE TRAFFICKING NOW. RUTLAND IS PHENOMENAL ESTIMATE IT'S GOT A GREAT SPIRIT AND GREAT PEOPLE. THERE ARE POCKETS OF THINGS THAT NEED TO BE IMPROVED. I'VE BEEN DEEPLY ENGAGED, WORKING WITH CHIEF BAKER AND OTHER PEOPLE DOWN THERE, TO DO WHAT WE CAN DO IN THE FEDERAL LEVEL TO ASSIST IN THAT. TO ME, IT SEEMS CLEAR THERE NEEDS TO BE BETTER DRUG TREATMENT RESOURCES, NOT JUST TO RUTLAND, BUT IN SOUTHERN VERMONT, BECAUSE FOR PEOPLE TO HAVE TO TRAVEL TO CHITTENDAN, IF THEY CAN BEAT THAT WAIT LIST, IT MAKES IT ESSENTIAL FOR WHAT THEY WANT TO DO, HAVE A JOB, HAVE A FAMILY, THINGS LIKE THAT. SO THERE HAS TO BE A DRUG TREATMENT RESOURCE IN RUTLAND AND THE CHIEF IS STRONG ABOUT THIS AND HE'S RIGHT ABOUT THAT. I WOULD LIKE THE VOICE OF THE FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT TO SAY LET'S MAKE SURE WE FOCUS ON DRUG TREATMENT AS WELL.

>> HOW DO YOU GET YOUR COMMUNITY CONCERNED? EVERY TIME THE TREATMENTS ARE PROPOSED, THERE ARE CONCERNS ABOUT WHAT IS BEING TALKED ABOUT. HOW DO YOU GET NEIGHBORS AND RESIDENTS TO ACCEPT A DRUG TREATMENT CENTER? WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT CRIME, YOU ARE TELLING US THESE ARE PEOPLE THAT ARE DESPERATE FOR CASH IF THEY DON'T GET THEIR METHADONE, THEY HAVE TO HAVE SOMETHING TO FILL THAT NEED.

>> THERE'S A BALANCE. THERE ARE PLACES THAT ARE NOT APPROPRIATE FOR A DRUG TREATMENT CENTER AND IN RUTLAND, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT PUTTING IT NEAR THE HOSPITAL. THAT'S A DECISION THE COMMUNITY HAS TO MAKE. THAT OPTION, IT SEEMS LIKE A REASONABLE CHOICE, BUT THAT'S SOMETHING THAT EACH COMMUNITY IS GOING TO HAVE TO DECIDE ON. BUT, JUST SAYING NO TO A DRUG TREATMENT FACILITY EXPOSES A COMMUNITY TO A TREMENDOUS A OTHER CRIME AS WELL. IF WE DON'T GET DRUG TREATMENT IN A REAL WAY, A BIG WAEURBGS WHERE THERE ARE OBATS, WE WILL HAVE WHAT WE SEE NOW, MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF BURGLARIES, INCREASES IN ARMED ROBBERIES, ALL SORTS OF OTHER CRIME PROBLEMS THAT WON'T BE -- THAT COMMUNITIES WON'T BE PROTECTED FROM.

>> YOU MENTIONED RESOURCES IS A PROBLEM. IS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NOT SPENDING ENOUGH MONEY AT THE DRUG CRIME ISSUE IN VERMONT?

>> I WOULD SAY THAT TALKING TO PEOPLE LIKE BOB BECK, YOU KNOW, HE IS HOPEFUL THAT WITH THE FUNDING LEVEL THEY HAVE, IF BETTER DEPLOYED, THEY ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO TREAT THIS ADDICT POPULATION IN AN APPROPRIATE WAY. I KNOW THEY WORK ON AN EXTREME BUDGET AND IT'S AMAZING THEY'RE ABLE TO DO WHAT THEY DO. WE HAVE A SEQUESTER PROBLEM IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING LAW ENFORCEMENT. WE ARE ASKED TO DO MORE WITH LESS RESOURCES AND THAT'S SOMETHING WHERE UNFORTUNATELY, WITH THE BUDGET OUTLOOK, WE NEED TO GET USED TO DOING, BUT IT DOESN'T CHANGE THE PROBLEM. WHILE IT WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE MORE MONEY AND MORE MONEY CAN HELP THE PROBLEM FOR SURE IT MAY NOT NORTHBOUND THE CARDS. WE HAVE TO DO MORE WITH LESS. >> WELCOME BACK, EVERYONE, WE ARE TALKING TO CHRIS CARLSON. YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT A COORDINATED EFFORT AMONGST LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT ASPECTS OF IT HAS BEEN BENEFICIAL? FIGHTING STKPHRAOEUPL.

>> SURE. WE'VE GOT A GREAT TRADITION IN VERMONT OF WORKING WELL TOGETHER, BOTH AT THE FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL LEVELS, AND WORKING TOGETHER TO SOLVE PROBLEMS, NOT JUST IN LAW ENFORCEMENT, OBVIOUSLY, BUT THAT'S SOMETHING THAT'S TRUE THROUGHOUT VERMONT. REALLY, IN THE BURLINGTON, RUTLAND IN PARTICULAR, WE'VE REALLY TRIED TO HAVE OUR FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES, AND WITH THE DIFFERENT SKILL SETS EACH AGENCY PROVIDES, DOVETAIL WITH THE PARTIES IN THE STATE POLICE AND THE LOCAL POLICE TO REALLY FOCUS IN ON THIS PROBLEM. CHIEF BAKER IN RUTLAND IS DEEPLY ENGAGED AND HAS BEEN A GREAT PARTNER, COMMISSIONER FLYNN, COLONEL BRONTS AND THE TASK FORCE HAS BEEN SUPER HELPFUL ATS WELL. WE'VE GOT GREAT FEDERAL AGENCY, FBI, ATF, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, OUR DEA, ARE ENGAGED IN THAT, AND WORKING TOGETHER THERE ARE AMAZING THINGS WE CAN ACCOMPLISH. WE'VE GOT THE POLICE AND STATE POLICE, WHO MAYBE HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THE COMMUNITIES WORK AND A NETWORK OF PEOPLE CLOSELY CONNECTED WITH THAT, BUTTAN TKPWAEPBLGING WITH FEDERAL RESOURCES IN A WAY NOT TO PUSH THE STATE OUT BUT TO COMPLEMENT WHAT THEY'RE DOING LET'S US MULTIPLY BECAUSE NOW WHEN YOU DO THAT IN A CLOSE WAY, WE'VE GOT THE EXPERTISE OF THE AGENCIES AND ABILITY TO GO OUT OF STATE SO WE CAN DO THE INVESTIGATIONS AND PROSECUTIONS LOCALLY, BUT PUSH THOSE BACK FOR THE OUT OF STATE SUPPLIER, AND THAT'S A CRUCIAL PART OF THIS STRATEGY. IF WE DON'T DO THAT, WE'RE SOLVING SORT OF A LOCAL ISSUE IN A WAY THAT PUTS A BANDAID ON IT. WE NEED TO TAKE OUR LOCAL CASES AND TAKE THEM AND PUSH OUT TO THE SUPPLIERS OUT OF STATE SO THEY KNOW THAT THEY CAN'T COME TO VERMONT AND MAKE A BIG PROFIT SELLING HEROINE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

>> THE EFFORT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE. WHY WASN'T THIS HAPPENING BEFORE?

>> IT WAS HAPPENING BEFORE. IT'S SORT EVER THE -- SORT OF THE STANDARD OF HOW WE DO BUSINESS HERE, BUT WHAT WE'VE DONE RECENTLY IS FOCUS ON THE HEROINE AND OPIATE PROBLEM AND REALLY ENGAGE ALL OF THE FEDERAL AGENCIES IN A MORE CLOSE CONNECTION WITH THE STATE AND LOCALS. TO ME, IT'S THE BIGGEST PUBLIC SAFETY PROBLEM WE HAVE IN VERMONT, AND WHAT I'VE WORKED HARD WITH OUR AGENCY TOSS DO IS TO GET THEM TO FOCUS ON IT AS THAT, AND FURTHERMORE, FOCUSING NOT JUST IN CHIPMAN COUNTY BUT COMMUNITIES OUTSIDE THE COUNTY WHERE THIS IS SIGNIFICANT AND RUTLAND IS ONE OF THOSE POINTS.

>> ONE OF THE PIPELINES WHERE DRUGS COME IN, A LOT OF GANG ACTIVITY, A LOT OF CONCERN FROM THAT AREA S. BENNINGTON ONE OF THE GROUND ZERO PARTS IN THIS.

>> BENNINGTON HAS ITS SHARE OF --

>> I SAW YOU GRIMACING.

>> I WASN'T GRIMACING. BENNINGTON HAS ITS SHARE OF THIS PROBLEM BUT IT'S THROUGHOUT MANY COMMUNITIES IN VERMONT, AND RUTLAND GETS A LOT OF ATTENTION ON THIS, BURLINGTON GETS ATTENTION ON THIS, BECAUSE THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT CENTERS FOR THIS ACTIVITY. BUT THEY ARE SIGNIFICANT AREAS FOR THIS ACTIVITY. DOWN THE STREET FROM THE STATE HOUSE, ABOUT A YEAR AGO, WE HAD A SHOOTING RELATED TO A CRACK DISTRIBUTION. THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE UNHEARD OF IN MY EXPERIENCE AS A VERMONTER, SO WE NEED TO GO BACK.

>> AND WE'VE HEARD A LOT ABOUT NEW YORKERS COMING INTO VERMONT, A LOT OF TRAFFICKING OVER THE STATE LINES. WHY IS THAT? WHY DO YOU THINK SO MANY OUT OF STATERS KEEP COMING IN AND BRINGING IN MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF HEROINE?

>> YOU KNOW, YOU CAN'T LOOK AT THIS AS A PROBLEM WHERE PEOPLE FROM OUTSIDE OF VERMONT ARE DOING SOMETHING BAD TO PEOPLE IN VERMONT. THAT'S WAY TOO SIMPLISTIC AND WON'T SOLVE THE PROBLEM. THAT BEING THE CASE, IT IS TRUE THAT ALL OF THE HEROINE FROM VERMONT COMES FROM SOMEWHERE OUTSIDE OF VERMONT, SO SOMEBODY IS BRINGING IT INTO VERMONT, BUT PEOPLE IN VERMONT ARE SELLING IT AND THEY'RE COMPLICIT IN DOING THAT, THEY ARE PROVIDING A BASE FOR PEOPLE FROM OUTSIDE OF VERMONT TO COME IN AND SELL. AND WE HAVE AN ADDICT POPULATION THAT'S OUR OWN. WE NEED TO DEAL WITH THAT PROBLEM. BUT THAT BEING SAID, ONE WAY TO STOP HEROINE TRAFFIC IN VERMONT IS TO ATTACK ALL OF THOSE LEVELS, INCLUDING ATTACKING OUT OF STATE DEALERS WHO COME HERE. AND THEY COME HERE BECAUSE THEY CAN MAKE AN EXCESSIVE PROFIT FOR THEIR HEROINE, BUY THE HEROINE IN THE CITY, IN NEW YORK, OR SPRINGFIELD, MASS OR LAUREL, MASS, BOSTON, MASS, BUY IT FOR $7, HERE IT WILL COST 20, $25 SO, THEY WANT TO MAKE QUICK MONEY.

>> SHOULD VERMONT LEGALIZE SMALL AMOUNTS OF MARIJUANA. WILL THAT MAKE YOUR JOB EASIER.

>> I THINK THAT'S A DECISION THAT VERMONT IS GOING TO MAKE ON THEIR OWN. OUR OFFICE DOESN'T FOCUS ON SIMPLY POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA CASES AND REALLY CAN'T BECAUSE WE HAVE THESE OTHER THINGS TO DEAL WITH. CLEARLY THE PUBLIC WOULD NOT THEIR TAX DOLLARS GOING AFTER -- DEALING WITH SOMEBODY SMOKING MARIJUANA WHEN WE'VE GOT ARMED GANG MEMBERS SELLING HEROINE, WHERE WE'VE GOT PEOPLE EXPLOITING YOUNG TEENAGERS ON THE INTERNET TRYING TO HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH THEM OR WE'VE GOT A SIGNIFICANT LARGE SCALE FINANCIAL CRIME GOING ON. SO WE CAN'T AND WON'T BE THE MARIJUANA POLICE FOR SIMPLE POSSESSION. THAT BEING SAID, I DO HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT MARIJUANA AS A DRUG AND THE MESSAGES IT SENDS, PARTICULARLY THE YOUNG PEOPLE, WITH GOING TOWARDS DECRIMINALIZATION. YOU KNOW, CONVICTION FOR A SMALL AMOUNT OF MARIJUANA SHOULDN'T BE SOMETHING THAT RUINS SOMEBODY'S LIFE CONCEPTUALLY, BUT I DO WORRY THAT WITH OUR STATE'S PRETTY EXTREME HISTORY OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE OF BOTH ALCOHOL AND MARIJUANA AT SOME YOUNG AGE COHORTS, THAT WE MAY BE DOING SOMETHING THAT'S NOT GOOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE.

>> DO YOU THINK THAT MARIJUANA IS A GATEWAY DRUG?

>> I THINK THAT'S SIMPLISTIC TO SAY THAT FOR SURE. CLEARLY EVERY PERSON THAT SMOKES MARIJUANA DOES NOT GO ON TO USE OF HARDER DRUGS AND HARD CORE ADDICTIONS. I WILL SAY, HOWEVER, THAT I CAN'T THINK OF A HEROINE ADDICT THAT I'VE DEALT WITH IN MY 12, 15 YEARS IN FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT WHO DIDN'T HAVE A SIGNIFICANT MARIJUANA USE BEFORE THAT.

>> WELL, COMING BACK TO THIS IDEA OF DRUG ADDICTION IN CYCLE AS WE'VE SEEN THROUGHOUT HISTORY, WHAT ARE YOUR FEARS OR WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS -- I MEAN, DOES IT LOOK LIKE THE DRUG PROBLEM IN VERMONT IS GOING TO BE IN CYCLE, OR IS THAT WHY WE'RE CRACKING DOWN NOW? WHAT DO YOU SEE WITH THE FUTURE?

>> I'M HOPING WITH THE COORDINATED EFFORTS WE CAN HAVE THE SAME SUCCESS WE HAD IN THE EARLY 2000S AND PUSH OPIATE DISTRIBUTION AND USE BACK DOWN TO MORE MANAGEABLE LEVELS. THE QUANTITIES OF BAGGED HEROINE AND LOOSE HEROINE WE'RE SEIZING IN VERMONT ON A REGULAR BASIS ARE WAY BEYOND WHAT WE HAVE EVER SEEN BEFORE. I'M HOPEFUL THROUGH THESE CORE EFFORTS, WE CAN FIX THAT. IT WILL ALSO REQUIRE CONTINUED EFFORTS AND IMPROVED EFFORTS THE DRUG TREATMENT AND BETTER EFFORTS AT DRUG PREVENTION, WHICH IS SOMETHING WE HAVEN'T REALLY TALKED ABOUT. THAT'S CRUCIAL.

>> DRUG PREVENTION, YOU MEAN GETTING INTO HIGH SCHOOLS, MIDDLE SCHOOLS.

>> WE NEED TO GET TO PEOPLE AND MAKE SURE THEY UNDERSTAND, NOT JUST THE KIDS BUT ADULTS TO UNDERSTAND HOW ATTRACTIVE OPIATE -- HOW OPIATE ADDICTION IS.

>> THERE ARE ALL SORTS OF MESSAGE ON HOW TO NOT START DRUGS AND HERE WE ARE WITH SUCH A PROBLEM.

>> I ACKNOWLEDGE WE'VE NOT BEEN WHOLLY SUCCESSFUL BUT I'M ALWAYS OPTIMISTIC THAT MORE BETTER AND MORE TARGETED EDUCATION CAN WORK AND THAT EDUCATION IS THE KEY. THE TPROB WITH OPIATES IS A LOT OF TIMES, THE GAYWAY FOR OPIATES IS OPIATE PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS WHICH LOOKS LIKE AN INOCCUOUS PILL AND CAN BE SHARED WITH SOMEBODY WHEN THEY GET IT OUT OF GRANDMOTHER'S MEDICINE CABINET AND SHARED WITH TEENAGERS AT A PARTY AND THAT'S A FUNCTION, THAT'S THE EQUIV LENT OF HEROINE -- THE EQUIVALENT OF HEROINE IN A LOT OF WAYS AND THEY TAKE IT AND GET HOOKED. AT HIGH SCHOOLS, WE CREATED A POWERFUL DOCUMENTARY MOVIE, FEATURING SKIP GATES, THE FATHER OF A STUDENT WHO OVERDOSED ON HEROINE, AND WE SENT THAT MOVIE TO ALL THE HIGH SCHOOLS IN VERMONT, TWO YEARS RUNNING, HAS A COUPLE OF ADDICTS TALKING ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCES, AND IT WAS PRETTY DARN EYE OPENING. IT'S A HEARTFELT MOVIE. WE ARE TALKING TO KIDS ABOUT IT, TRYING TO GET THE WORD OUT, BECAUSE I TELL YOU WHAT, EVERY KID WE CAN TURN AWAY FROM CROSSING INTO THAT WORLD IS, YOU KNOW, ONE LESS PERSON THAT THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND ULTIMATELY THE FEDERAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM PERHAPS WILL HOPEFULLY NOT HAVE TO DEAL WITH.

>> IT DESTROYS LIVES, FAMILIES. IT'S SO DESTRUCTIVE.

>> IT'S UNBELIEVABLE HOW DESTRUCTIVE IT IS TO THE PERSON, THE FAMILY, THEIR FRIENDS, THEIR COMMUNITY.

>> WE HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF OUR TIME LEFT, BUT ONE OF THE ISSUES IN THE PRESS CONFERENCE, FBI AGENTS COULD BE WALKING THE STREETS. IS THAT A REALITY?

>> SURE. FBI AGENTS DO WALK THE STREETS.

>> THEY DO, OKAY.

>> NOW. YOU KNOW, IT'S JUST A QUESTION OF HOW THEY'RE DEPLOYED. FBI WILL DEPLOY ITS RESOURCES APPROPRIATELY. THEY HAVE A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT MISSIONS. BUT ONE OF THE THINGS THEY ARE GOING TO WORK ON IS ADDRESSING --UN -- ONE ASPECT OF THIS, THE LEAD AGENCIES FROM THE FEDERAL SIDE IN HEROINE TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT ARE STILL GOING TO BE DEA AND ATF.

>> U.S. ATTORNEY FOR VERMONT, CHRIS COMPTON. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

>> HAVE A GOOD DAY, EVERYONE. TAKE CARE.

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