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Federal agents make one of the biggest drug busts in Vt. history - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Federal agents make one of the biggest drug busts in Vt. history

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COLCHESTER, Vt. -

Hundreds of thousands of dollars of heroin is off the streets. The Drug Enforcement Administration tells WCAX News it's one of the largest drug busts in Vermont history. Federal authorities say they seized an estimated $375,000 to $500,000 of heroin this weekend when they closed in on a Colchester painting company and its big city drug supplier.

"These kinds of seizures don't happen very often," DEA Special Agent Brian Villella said.

The massive bust happened Saturday morning at the business office for Almighty Peaks Painting on West Lakeshore Drive in Colchester. The owner, Darrick Holmes, was arrested Tuesday after his home on Pine Lane was raided by the feds. 

Neighbors we spoke to both near his home and his business told us they're not comfortable talking about Holmes on camera, but they did say they're relieved he's now in federal custody. 

The DEA calls Holmes a mid-level distributor. They wanted to nab his supplier.

"We continued our investigation and on Saturday morning we were able to arrest the two individuals who we believe were supplying heroin to Mr. Holmes," said Villella.

The two individuals are Shawn Alonso and Tamara Moody. The feds don't give out mug shots, but we found Alonso on Facebook. According to court papers, Holmes agreed to set up his big city supplier in exchange for leniency at sentencing. Holmes arranged for Alonso to deliver heroin and cocaine to his business. Federal drug agents were waiting and busted Alonso and Moody when they allegedly showed up with the shipment of 1.25 kilos of heroin.

"We're talking about approximately and conservatively about 37,500 bags of heroin that could be sold to 37,500 individuals on the streets," said Villella. "That's a lot of heroin that will not be going into people's arms."

Holmes allegedly told investigators Alonso regularly supplied him with kilogram quantities of heroin and cocaine multiple times per month.

"He always paid his rent," Sen. Dick Mazza said.  

Mazza has been Holmes' landlord in the shopping plaza for about six years. 

Reporter Jenifer Costa: Have you ever seen any suspicious activity?

Sen. Dick Mazza: Never. Never saw any activity. 

He says he knew Holmes served prison time and paid his rent in cash, but Mazza denies knowing what was going on in his rental property.

"If I would have known, the least bit of indication, something would have been done because there's no way I would allow that in my property," Mazza said. "The rumors were there, but what could I do? I couldn't evict him for something he wasn't doing."

Mazza admits things started getting suspicious last week when he saw police at the property. Holmes called investigators after he claims someone broke in and stole $135,000 he had in a safe. Mazza says the thieves cut holes through a vacant restaurant next door to Holmes' business.

"If you're carrying $135,000 in cash in a safe there's something going on there," said Mazza.

Court papers show Holmes allegedly started selling heroin because many of his employees at the painting company were addicts and it was an easy way to pay them.

"There's an insatiable appetite for heroin in New England and Vermont is certainly part of that appetite," Villella said. 

Alonso and Holmes remain in federal custody. Both have detention hearings later this month.

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