WHITEHALL — Three people were arrested Monday when a multi-agency investigation led to the seizure of 50 grams of a heroin-fentanyl mix that was destined for the streets of Washington County.
State Police arrested the trio, who they believe are tied to a network of dealers in the Rutland, Vermont area that has been active in eastern New York as well. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more powerful than heroin and has caused more overdoses and deaths nationally in recent years than heroin.
Police charged a man from Brooklyn, who has been staying in Rutland, with a felony for possessing the drugs with intent to distribute after troopers arrested him at a location off Route 4 in the village of Whitehall.
That man, Dayshawn D. Mitchell, 23, is accused of bringing a quantity of heroin-fentanyl mix to Whitehall that would amount to 2,000 bags of the drug, worth a minimum of $10 apiece. He was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Two Vermont women who accompanied Mitchell to Whitehall, Victoria A. Walton, 30, of Fair Haven, and Laura J. Bishop, 31, of Rutland, were charged with misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance. State Police said additional charges are likely.
A fourth person was detained in the case but determined to be uninvolved in the drug activity, according to State Police.
All three were sent to Washington County Jail after their arrests, although Bishop and Walton had been released as of early Tuesday.
Bishop was a graduate of a federal drug court program in Vermont in 2016, according to a report in the Rutland Herald newspaper.
Police said the price of opioids has dropped in the region in recent months, as more dealers from the New York City area set up shop in Rutland to supply users in adjacent areas of New York.
State Police Senior Investigator Robert Stampfli said authorities have been seeing more fentanyl in the region, although he said there had not been any recent overdoses linked to the drug locally.
“We’ve been suspecting it and seeing it more and more,” Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan said of fentanyl.
He said fentanyl has proved cheaper to manufacture than heroin, which has played a part in its increased presence.
The case is being investigated by State Police from Washington County as well as the agency’s Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Whitehall Police.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact State Police at 518-692-3015.