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Wilton

Heroin, crack seized in bust

Police: Suspects were ‘significant dealers’

WILTON — After a multi-department investigation into the sale of heroin in the area, Wilton police have arrested two of their residents on felony charges of possession and intent to distribute. More than 10 grams of heroin was seized from a Wilton Main Street apartment earlier this month, according to Police Chief Brent Hautanen.

In a cooperative investigation with the New Ipswich Police Department and assistance from the Antrim Police Department, Wilton police arrested Brett Blackler, 42, and Ashley Davis, 23, both of Wilton, on April 3, at approximately 4 p.m.

During the course of their week-long investigation into heroin sales in the area, police executed a search warrant at an apartment on Main Street in Wilton, where Blackler and Davis reside. Police seized heroin, crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia and more than $1,000 in cash from the apartment. Blackler and Davis were both charged with possession of a controlled drug, a class A or B felony depending on the amount seized, which is yet to be determined, as well as felony possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute, a class A felony. The intent to distribute charges could carry penalties of up to 30 years in prison or up to $500,000 in fines or both, according to Hautanen.

Hautanen declined to comment on what led to the investigation, or what led police to Blackler and Davis, due to the fact that the case is still active.

The amount of heroin seized from the apartment was in excess of 10 grams, said Hautanen in an interview Wednesday. The crack cocaine seized was a smaller amount, more consistent with personal use, said Hautanen, and Blackler and Davis are being charged with the intent to distribute heroin, not crack cocaine. “There was a lot of use-related paraphernalia, scales, hypodermic needles and things associated with the use of the drug,” said Hautanen, referring to heroin.

“I would classify this as a significant bust,” he said. “I believe that they were significant dealers in the area.”

Heroin is an emerging problem across the state, said Hautanen, including in Wilton. In the early 2000s, Wilton had a more significant heroin problem than it does currently, he noted. But in 2004, police arrested Wilton resident Jonathan Platte, 39, who was later found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute in excess of 500 grams of cocaine, 50 grams of crack cocaine and 100 grams of heroin. Platte was sentenced to 30 years to life in 2007, with credit for time served. Without the area’s major dealer, the town saw usage drop considerably, said Hautanen. In recent years, however, it has begun to creep back into town, he added.

“We had gone through a period of time where we were seeing less of it, but now we’re starting to see it come back in the area. People are using these drugs to replace drugs they may not have access to,” said Hautanen. “Particularly those that use narcotic-related drugs or painkillers will often switch to heroin when painkillers become too expensive or they lose access to them. And heroin is very addictive.”

In addition to more drug-related arrests, Hautanen said he is also seeing other signs of drug use in town, including a lot of drug residue-related cases and residents turning in hypodermic needles that have been abandoned on the side of the road.

“That’s becoming a problem, and people that have legitimate uses for hypodermics aren’t tossing them on the side of the road, so that’s a sign that there are users in the area,” he said.

Following their arrest, Blackler and Davis were both held in lieu of $10,000 cash bail. They were arraigned in the 9th Circuit Court, Merrimack, on March 4, where bail was continued at $10,000 cash for each of them. Hautanen said police are still investigating the case, which may result in additional arrests or charges for Blackler and Davis. The two will appear in the Milford District Court on April 15 for a probable cause hearing.

Calls to New Ipswich police department seeking comment were not returned by press time Wednesday.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.

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