How Facebook helped keep drug suspects behind bars - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

How Facebook helped keep drug suspects behind bars

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It's one of the largest drug busts in Vermont history. Federal agents say they took down two big city suppliers during a sting operation in Colchester last week. Now, Investigative Reporter Jennifer Costa has learned how Facebook helped keep the couple behind bars.

A grand jury indicted Shawn Alonso and Tamara Moody Thursday. In a joint hearing, they both pleaded not guilty. It's then up to a federal judge to decide if can go home while they wait for trial. Things were looking good for the couple until the government's lawyer brought up social media.

Jewels, sporting games, fancy furs, vacations and big boats: Federal prosecutors say Tamara Moody's Facebook page details a life of luxury she shares with boyfriend Shawn Alonso. The pair is accused of regularly supplying a Colchester drug dealer with heroin and cocaine, kilos at a time and multiple shipments a month.

Saturday, the couple was busted by the feds when the equivalent of 37,000 doses of heroin allegedly fell from Alonso's pants.

The pair told pretrial services they are poor. Alonso claimed he survives on less than $1,000 a month in disability. He was shot years ago and now uses a wheelchair. He lives with his mom, a New York City transit officer, and his firefighter brother was in court to vouch for him.

Moody told authorities she makes $10 an hour as a home health aide and lives paycheck to paycheck caring for her client, Shawn Alonso.

The government says social media tells a different story. One of a boyfriend and girlfriend jet setting around the country. An intelligence analyst used Moody's Facebook to track travel-- trips to Atlanta, Vegas, Miami, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean-- some 40 flights each in just the last year.

At the time of their arrest, the DEA says Moody was wearing roughly $40,000-$50,000 in jewels. Alonso's bling was valued at $65,000-$80,000. Receipts in their rental car show tens of thousands of dollars of cash deposits to several bank accounts.

The government alleges they don't live in New York City as they say but Atlanta and the quick trips to NYC are to truck drugs to Vermont.

A federal judge concluded the couple is a danger to the community and a flight risk. He told the court "heroin is tearing apart the fabric of this state" and this seizure is the largest he's seen from the bench.

Moody and Alonso will remain in prison while they await trial. Their Colchester drug connection will be in court for the same type of detention hearing Friday.

Related Story:

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

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