Heroin Arrest

The FBI says it found a wide variety of illegal drugs when it searched a backpack seized from St. Johnsbury armed robbery suspect Rafael Ortiz.

Ortiz, 44, was indicted by federal authorities in June after being accused of being a felon in possession of a loaded Sig Sauer P320 9-millimeter handgun. Ortiz pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Vermont State Police apprehended Ortiz in downtown Lyndonville in May because he was the subject of two arrest warrants in connection with an alleged armed robbery on Railroad Street in St. Johnsbury and other crimes.

U.S. District Court

Troopers say Ortiz was armed with the gun as well as a “dagger” and a “small meat cleaver,” as well as $1,500 in cash, a black iPhone and a blue/ green backpack secured with a lock.

According to federal court documents, The FBI, armed with a search warrant, seized five items from the backpack in June including: A clear plastic bag containing a white, rock-like substance that investigators say appears to be crack cocaine, an “Ice Breaker” mint container containing approximately 40 to 50 blue pills, a clear plastic bag containing an estimated 80 bags of suspected heroin, a small bag of suspected cocaine powder and a small bag containing a white rock substance believed by police to be cocaine base.

Ortiz is now being held in federal detention at Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans.

The arrest warrants for Ortiz stemmed from an investigation by the St. Johnsbury Police Department which first became aware of Ortiz in April after he allegedly fled police in an SUV on Pearl Street and sped away at speeds of up to 80 m.p.h. in a 30 m.p.h zone.

Witnesses later identified the driver of the SUV as Ortiz and told police he is a drug dealer who goes by the street name of ‘Lex” and is known for pointing guns at people around town.

On May 7, St. Johnsbury Police received a report from Dylan Brink, 24, that he had been held up by Ortiz at gunpoint in the parking lot of Horizon’s Deli at 652 Railroad Street.

Police said a records check indicated that Ortiz has several felony convictions in the state of Connecticut dating back to 1995 including criminal possession of a gun in 2017.

A further records check by police revealed that Ortiz’s criminal history in Connecticut also includes convictions for possession or sale of narcotics, numerous probation violations and several resisting arrest charges.

Ortiz’s Vermont criminal record includes a dismissed cocaine and weapons possession case in 2012.

Ortiz lists his current address in Ascutney, Vermont.

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