Massive Drug Bust At Lyndon Center Apartment Building

67 Center Street In Lyndon Center on July 1, 2021. (Photo By Todd Wellington)

4,316 bags of suspected heroin.

10.8 grams of crack cocaine.

36 grams of powdered cocaine.

$7,000.00 in cash.

Two digital scales, a box of glassine wax baggies and a dinner plate with a steak knife containing white powdery substances.

All found by police over the weekend in an apartment located just two houses up from the historic Millers Run Bridge in Lyndon Center and less than a quarter-mile from the campus of Lyndon Institute.

All thanks to an alert Lyndonville Police Officer.

The suspect drug dealer found with the drugs, Addiel Santini, 19, of Springfield, Massachusetts was arrested and charged in U.S. District Court with felony narcotics possession with intent to distribute.

“The types of drugs that the defendant has been charged with distributing are very serious and dangerous drugs in the District of Vermont- particularly in the Northeast Kingdom,” said Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly G. Ang during Santini’s detention hearing in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

“Additionally, the amounts of currency that were found in the defendant’s bedroom and on the defendant’s person are substantial,” said Ang, as she argued that Santini was a flight risk and a danger to the community. "This not only goes to show the seriousness of the offense, the government argues, but also goes to show that the defendant may have access to substantial quantities of cash which would also go toward that risk of flight analysis.”

But despite the prosecutor’s best efforts, Santini was released by U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Doyle after an argument by Santini’s defense attorney Steven Barth.

“This is a 19-year-old teenager, your honor…with no criminal history,” said attorney Barth. “I don’t want a 19-year-old sitting up in a state prison…The best predictor of whether somebody is a danger to the community, your honor, is past behavior. And this defendant, Mr. Santini, has no history, whatsoever of violence in his record. None…He has only one arrest, from when he was 16 years old and it didn’t involve violence.”

The judge noted that while Santini does not have any criminal convictions on his record, he does have a 2018 arrest that relates to the possession of heroin but no court action followed. Santini also has no history of failure to appear in court and no active arrest warrants.

“All of this is serious but the court does find that conditions can be set to assure Mr. Santini’s appearance in this district and to assure that he will not present a danger to the community,” said Judge Doyle.

Santini was released to live in his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts and can only travel to Vermont for court hearings or to meet with his attorney.

Santini was arrested after Lyndonville Police Ofc. Jason Harris noticed something unusual after being called to the apartment to assist with a landlord-tenant issue on Saturday, June 26.

Property owner Doug Spates told police the tenant in Apartment D had left in April and squatters had since taken up residence in the unit.

When police arrived on the scene, they found three people in the apartment including Santini - who was found asleep in a bedroom.

While in the bedroom, Ofc. Harris noticed a box containing a large amount of glassine bags, separated into piles and held together by small rubber bands.

“Harris recognized these glassine wax baggies to be associated with narcotics trafficking,” reads a police affidavit filed in support of the charges in U.S. District Court.

Lyndonville Police then applied for and were granted a state search warrant to search the apartment.

According to court documents, Santini denied selling narcotics but one of the other occupants of the apartment - identified only as - “Occupant 1” - told police Santini was a dealer.

“We then met with Occupant 1, who told us that Santini was a narcotics dealer from out of state,” reads a police affidavit filed by the Vermont Drug Task Force following the execution of the search warrant.

“Occupant 1 admitted to being an addict, Occupant 1 stated he/she allowed Santini to stay at the residence for the purpose of distributing drugs. Occupant 1 said he/she provided Santini a place to stay and in return Occupant 1 was provided narcotics from Santini. Occupant 1 advised Santini has resided in the lone bedroom and has sold narcotics to numerous clients for the past month,” according to the report.

Police say “Occupant 1” has a lengthy criminal history including convictions for simple assault, disorderly conduct, retail theft, escape from custody/furlough, unlawful mischief, petit larceny, unlawful trespass violation of conditions of release, forgery, petit larceny, prescription fraud, vehicle operation without the owner’s consent and violation of abuse prevention order.

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