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Big drug bust shocks residents in Burlington neighborhood - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Big drug bust shocks residents in Burlington neighborhood

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Anthony Wright Anthony Wright
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Federal agents warn residents in a Burlington neighborhood to stay clear of a house they say could be contaminated. Neighbors described quite the scene, dozens of unmarked federal vehicles sat outside a home on Sandra Circle for hours after they uncovered something dangerous cooking inside.

Neighbors say Sandra Circle in Burlington is a quiet and safe place to live. So they say what happened Wednesday night came as a shock.

"It is absolutely crazy," said Marta Hammond, who operates a day care on Sandra Circle.

"We've never, never expected to see anything like this. Never. Nope," said Larry Berthiaume who has lived on Sandra Circle since 1977.

Dozens of unmarked federal vehicles parked outside while federal agents and local law enforcement surrounded 142 1/2 Sandra Circle.

"There was all kinds of things being spread around," Hammond explained. "You know, about what could it be what could it be, in such a quiet neighborhood it was very shocking, very shocking."

Neither police nor federal officials will comment on the matter, but neighbors tell us they saw a couple in their late 20s or early 30s being taken away in handcuffs by police.

By Thursday afternoon the neighborhood was back to normal, but a sign on the door posted by the DEA warns people to use caution on the premises, saying a clandestine lab for the manufacturing of illegal drugs and/or hazardous chemicals was inside. Neighbors say in hindsight they had questions about the house.

"My wife started to complain about a smell," Berthiaume said. "She thought it was skunks around the house, but I said I don't smell any skunks, but that's where it was coming from."

During Thursday's commotion some of the closest neighbors were told to evacuate as a safety precaution while federal agents in gas masks entered the home. Residents say the neighbor in the adjacent duplex did not get out.

"When they were knocking they were like 'open up the door you're in danger of what's next door,'" Hammond explained, describing the scene.

"He wouldn't come out and wouldn't let the police in, so they got the battering ram and knocked the door in and went in with their guns and took him out and put him in the cruiser," Berthiaume said.

While inside, police discovered a second illegal drug operation. More than 200 marijuana plants were growing inside.

"I always wanted to find out how come the bathroom light was on all night long -- now I know," Berthiaume said of suspicions he had in hindsight.

Thursday, police arrested 34-year-old Anthony Wright on marijuana charges and have not said whether that is related to the illegal lab next door.

Police say the marijuana investigation is ongoing and additional people could be charged. There is still no word on any arrests or charges in connection with the lab.

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