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Five arrested in Vermont


Five arrested in drug raids. BELLOWS FALLS,Vermont -- Following a lengthy investigation into a cocaine and crack distribution ring, local and state police arrested five people Thursday and charged them with numerous felony drug counts. According to police, further arrests are anticipated. Members of the Bellows Falls, Ludlow and Hartford,Vermont police departments and the Vermont State Police assisted the Southern Vermont Drug Task Force in carrying out the drug busts in Bellows Falls and White River Junction. Vermont State Police Detective Sgt. John Merrigan, a supervisor of the task force, said approximately four ounces of crack cocaine and two ounces of powder cocaine were confiscated in White River Junction. In Bellows Falls, police found approximately three ounces of crack cocaine. Merrigan said the drugs have a street value of approximately $25,000. Merrigan said more than 20 law enforcement personnel were involved in the investigation that lasted almost a year. "There was really good cooperation between local agencies, that were in the know on local targets, and the task force," said Merrigan. Damir Baial Islam, 40, of Manchester, Conn., was charged with three counts of selling cocaine and one count of possession. Islam faces up to 40 years in jail for the charges. On Friday, Islam pleaded not guilty in Windsor District Court and is being held on a $250,000 bond. Bryan Severance, 30, of White River Junction, was charged with three counts of selling cocaine and one count of aiding in the commission of a felony. He could get up to 35 years in jail for the offenses. Severance pleaded not guilty on Friday and was released and ordered to appear in Windsor District Court,Vermont at a later date. Shellisa Jones, 28, of White River Junction, was charged with one count of selling cocaine and one count of aiding in the commission of a felony. She faces up to 15 years in jail. Jones pleaded not guilty on Friday and was released and ordered to appear in Windsor District Court at a later date. Laryssa Cox, 21, of Bellows Falls,Vermont was charged with four counts of selling cocaine, one count of possession of cocaine, one count of selling heroin and multiple probation violations. She faces up to 25 years in jail. On Friday, Cox pleaded not guilty in Windham District Court,Vermont and is being held on $10,000 bail. James Morse, 40, of Weathersfield,Vermont was charged with one count of possession of cocaine and one count of aiding in the commission of a felony. He faces up to 15 years in jail. He pleaded not guilty on Friday and was released and ordered to appear in Windsor District Court at a later date. Bellows Falls,Vermont Police Chief Keith Clark said a Bellows Falls officer was dispatched to White River Junction to assist in gathering information for the arrests there. In Bellows Falls, he said his department became aware of Cox's involvement about a month ago. Clark said even though illegal drug use in Bellows Falls,Vermont is not as bad as it has been in years past, it's still a problem in his town. "We have people who not only use, but also sell," said Clark. "For many, it's an economic issue. If you can go down to Springfield (Mass.) and buy a bindle for $7 or $8 and sell it for $25 ... is it worth the risk? They look at it as a way of making money very easily." Clark said that, for many of the people involved in the drug trade, selling drugs is a way of supporting their habit. "My officers do a very good job of gathering information and talking with people," said Clark. Clark said he understands that many residents of Bellows Falls,Vermont may be frustrated by what they perceive to be the slow pace of a drug investigation. But he said it's necessary because it takes a long time to gather enough information to present to a judge to obtain a search warrant. Clark also encouraged Vermont residents to talk with his officers about suspected drug use or sale in their Vermont neighborhood. "The information they provide might seem insignificant to them, but it all adds up," said Clark.

Did You Know? ...
Interesting Facts and Statistics:

In 2008, there were 729,000 persons aged 12 or older who had used inhalants for the first time within the past 12 months; 70.4 percent were under age 18 when they first used. There was no significant difference in the number of inhalant initiates between 2007 and 2008, but the 2008 estimate was significantly below the number in 2003 (871,000), 2004 (857,000), and 2005 (877,000). However, there was a significant decrease in the average age at first use among recent initiates aged 12 to 49 from 2007 (17.1 years) to 2008 (15.9 years).

There is no one particular form of drug rehab treatment that is appropriate for everyone. When an individual is seeking to get help for a drug or alcohol addiction, one must take into account the type of drug that was used and the unique needs of the individual.

Psychotherapeutics include the nonmedical use of any prescription-type pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, or sedatives. Over-the-counter substances are not included. In 2006, there were 2.6 million persons aged 12 or older who used psychotherapeutics nonmedically for the first time within the past year. The numbers of new users of specific psychotherapeutics in 2006 were 2.2 million for pain relievers, 1.1 million for tranquilizers, 845,000 for stimulants, and 267,000 for sedatives. There was a significant increase in the number of past year initiates of stimulants from 2005 (647,000) to 2006, but there were no significant changes in the estimates for the remaining psychotherapeutics.

As a percentage of those aged 12 to 17 who had not used marijuana prior to the past year, the youth marijuana initiation rate in 2008 (5.6 percent) was similar to the rate in 2007 (5.2 percent).

The average drug addict will need as much as $200 a day in order to support their addiction; if they resort to stealing property, they would have to steal almost $1000.00 worth of property just to raise enough money to get their daily fix.

Persons aged 12 to 25 accounted for almost 60 percent (57.8 percent) of the total number of persons needing but not receiving treatment for an illegal drug use problem. However, that group represented only 23 percent of the total population aged 12 or older. The percentage of the total accounted for by persons aged 12 to 25 at the State level ranged from 44 percent in the District of Columbia to 72 percent in New Hampshire.


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