Bennington woman facing federal drug charge

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BENNINGTON — A Bennington woman has been detained by federal authorities for allegedly distributing heroin from an apartment at the corner of Gage Street and Park Street.

Amanda Gibbons, 31, appeared in United States District Court District of Vermont on Monday where a request to detain her, filed by the U.S. Attorney General for the District of Vermont, was granted by U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Drescher said Tuesday that while Gibbons has been charged, she has not yet entered a plea.

According to court documents, she is scheduled to appear in federal court at 10 a.m. for an arraignment, or probable cause hearing. According to the Department of Corrections online "offender locator," Gibbons is being held at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington.

She is being represented by the Office of the Federal Public Defender, which did not return a call seeking comment on Tuesday.

According to an affidavit filed by a member of the Vermont Drug Task Force, in May, a person identified as a "cooperating individual" (CI) purchased 10 bags of heroin from Gibbons from $140 they were given from task force funds.

The CI had told police he or she could purchase heroin from Gibbons, who lived in an apartment above a store at the corner of Park Street and Gage Street. According to the affidavit, CI was given a recording device that allowed police to listen to their conversations with Gibbons. After entering the apartment, Gibbons told CI that she was waiting for "them."

An officer familiar with Gibbons' voice said it was her talking to CI.

Police observed a black colored vehicle with New Jersey license plates pull into the store's driveway below Gibbons' apartment. Gibbons was heard to say "they" had arrived, then her voice could not be heard. During that time, an officer who was not familiar with her by sight, saw a woman leave the apartment and interact with the people in the black vehicle. The woman went back inside, and Gibbons' voice could once again be heard.

CI was then seen leaving the apartment and kept under surveillance until he or she met with police and turned over 10 bags of heroin. According to CI, Gibbons' two children were inside the apartment during the purchase.

In his motion to detain Gibbons, filed Jan. 4, Drescher indicated that Gibbons told police she had been selling heroin for the past seven months to support her own addiction. He wrote that Gibbons admitted to using up to 30 bags of heroin per day when the addiction is at its worst, and a bag or two per day since being put on Methadone.

"Clearly, her current treatment regimen has not dissuaded her from ongoing distribution," Drescher wrote, adding that her criminal history indicated a 2010 felony conviction for cocaine sale or delivery, which she received a two-year deferred sentence. She has since had other misdemeanor charges related to violence, property crime, and giving false information to police.

The motion asks that the court only release her until a suitable treatment program can be found.

— Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at 802-447-7567 Ext. 115


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