Manchester Police make large drug seizure, arrest Conn. man on distribution charges

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MANCHESTER — Manchester Police said they have arrested a Connecticut man believed to be one of the largest distributors of cocaine, heroin and pills in southern Vermont.

Officers took Torrie D. Smith, 29, of Hartford, Conn., into custody at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at a Manchester convenience store not far from where he was living, according to a news release.

Sgt. James Blanchard, Detectives Thomas Crowe and Abigail Zimmer, and officer Dontrell Royal took Smith into custody without incident, police said.

According to police, Smith is expected to be transported to Burlington, where he will face federal charges brought by the United States Attorney in Burlington of possession with intent to distribute schedule I and II controlled substances.

The arrest is the culmination of an investigation that began in January and resulted in the seizure of 396 bags of pure fentanyl, 9 grams of heroin, more than 4 ounces of crack cocaine in bulk form, and a large quantity of methamphetamine in colorful cube form, according to police. The meth in cube form is new to this area, according to police.

Police said Smith had been living in Manchester since November. Manchester Police, along with state and federal authorities, have been investigating Smith's activities since December, they said. According to police, the investigation showed Smith was one of the largest distributors of cocaine, heroin and pills in southern Vermont, with customers from Bennington, Chittenden, Rutland, Windham and Windsor counties and beyond. Manchester Police said the bust could be one of the largest drug seizures of this type to ever occur in Manchester, and possibly Bennington County.

Crowe said according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency the 396 bags of pure fentanyl was enough to kill more than 33,000 people by dose weight.

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"It will make a sizable dent [in the southern Vermont drug trade] temporarily," Crowe said.

Police said Smith was in possession of crack cocaine packaged for resale when he was taken into custody.

The charges are the result of a traffic stop Jan. 25 on Main Street in Manchester by MPD officers Darren Jennings and Jason Thomas that resulted in a search warrant and several months of investigation, police said.

Crowe said the stop was originally because the driver's license was criminally suspended and Smith was a passenger in the vehicle.

"[Smith] was on the radar prior to that stop," Crowe said.

Crowe said the investigation is continuing and additional arrests related to the case are expected.

The Vermont State Police, Bennington County Sheriff's Department, Bennington Police Department, and the Southern Vermont Drug Task Force assisted with the case.

Contact Darren Marcy at dmarcy@manchesterjournal.com or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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