Tenants caught in crosshairs of landlord's drug troubles - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Tenants caught in crosshairs of landlord's drug troubles

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Todd McMillon Todd McMillon

"I was met by several armed policemen with AR-15s, automatics," Todd McMillon said.

That's the greeting McMillon got after work as he pulled into his Williston driveway last Tuesday.

"The first thing that they told me was, 'Put your hands in the air when we can see them. Give me some identification,'" McMillon said. "And I had no idea what was going on."

What was going on was a federal drug raid. The 22-year-old college student rents a room in a house. But the property is owned by Darrick Holmes, who was being investigated by the DEA and was eventually linked to one of the biggest drug busts in the county. According to court papers, two of the tenants in the home sold drugs for Holmes and ended up working with the feds to take him down.

McMillon says each room is leased separately. He never saw illegal activity and only had good things to say about his landlord.

"He made sure my room was completely furnished. He bought us TVs. Everybody had cable boxes. He was a great guy. He was always here. They came in once a month. They cleaned the house," McMillon said.

That couple cooperating with the feds-- McMillon says they disappeared after the raid. And so did this aspiring English teacher's sense of security.

"They surveilled the house for a really long time," McMillon said.

He came home to holes in the walls and busted doors as federal agents searched common areas for drugs.

Meanwhile, in federal court, a grand jury indicted Holmes on multiple counts of conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine. He pleaded not guilty. The feds don't release mug shots or let our cameras in but we found Holmes on Facebook.

In addition to being a landlord, Holmes owns a painting company. The government claims Holmes used Almighty Peaks and its employees to distribute drugs throughout Chittenden County.

His lawyer wanted the 48-year-old lifelong Vermonter released to a rehab facility, stressing his client is not an addict but does abuse alcohol and heroin. A federal judge didn't buy the argument. He ruled Holmes will stay in prison until trial.

So what does that mean for his tenants?

"I do feel like we were innocent bystanders," McMillon said.

The government could seize the property because of its alleged ties to drug money. The feds told McMillon he has three months to move out. But he's not wasting any time. His apartment search is already underway.

"Looking for Burlington now trying to get away from Williston. I don't want to get involved in this again," he said. "Some place where there's no drama."

WCAX News has learned more about Holmes' criminal history. This is actually his third federal arrest. In 1992, he spent 10 years in federal prison for big time cocaine offenses. He had another cocaine conviction in 2003. We're told he made the switch to heroin because it was an easy way to pay his employees.

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