Police: Rutland raid nets $20,000 in heroin
By Brent Curtis
STAFF WRITER | March 23,2013
Rutland Police seized more than 1,600 bags of heroin after a tip led them to an apartment on East Street, according to court records.
A New York man and Rutland woman were behind bars Friday as a result of the major bust, which police said resulted in the seizure of $20,000 worth of heroin and $5,700 in cash Thursday. Police said the money was collected from drug sales.
Some drug investigations can take weeks of surveillance and undercover drug purchases before arrests can be made, but the events that took place Thursday unfolded in a matter of hours.
Following a call to police from an unidentified resident, described in a police affidavit as a “concerned citizen,” a Rutland City officer and detective visited the ground-floor apartment at 54 East St. at 5:30 p.m.
While knocking on the front and back door, Detective Cpl. David LaChance said he detected a strong smell of marijuana coming from the apartment.
When a man — later identified as Isaiah H. Bilal, 19, of Bronx, N.Y., — came to the door, LaChance said he let the officers come inside and told them that he had just finished smoking marijuana.
LaChance said he could see a large stack of money and a cellophane bag filled with marijuana, which he said Bilal handed over to police. The detective said Bilal then gave police written permission to search the apartment, where he’d lived for the last two months with his girlfriend, Nicole D. Smith, 39, of Rutland. Bilal said Smith rented the apartment.
LaChance said police found a paper bag filled with wadded up bills, 1,669 bags of heroin, more than $1,000 in cash on a night stand and $4,000 stacked in a closet safe.
Asked about the drugs and money, Bilal told police they belonged to Smith, who he said was selling the drugs.
Bilal also told investigators he rarely left the apartment, that Smith brought him groceries and that she was the only person he knew in the city. He also allegedly told police he received about a quarter-pound of marijuana at the apartment each week.
When Smith arrived at the apartment after 8 p.m. Thursday, police said she told them that Bilal and his brother were the heroin dealers — although she allegedly told police she helped sell the drugs in exchange for bags of heroin for herself.
Police said she stated Bilal and his brother had been selling “large quantities of heroin” from the house — a stone’s throw from the former Dana Recreation Center — for the last two months.
In Rutland criminal court Friday, both Bilal and Smith pleaded innocent to charges of heroin trafficking — which carry a potential 30-year jail sentence.
Judge Cortland Corsones set bail at $200,000 for Bilal.
“It seems as if a significant drug enterprise was being run out of the apartment,” Corsones said.
Prosecutors wanted a similar amount of bail for Smith, who “allowed an individual to stay in her apartment knowing that he was selling heroin and receiving heroin from him,” according to State’s Attorney Marc Brierre.
“Her only employment is reflected in the charges that she attempted to sell or was selling illegal drugs,” he added.
But Corsones decided that the woman’s ties to the area warranted a lower bail of $35,000.
Bilal and Smith remained in jail Friday night.