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EXCLUSIVE: Major Fentanyl / Cocaine distribution bust in Springfield

By Michael Bielawski,

There was a major drug bust in Springfield this week involving the distribution of fentanyl, cocaine, crack cocaine, gun charges and more. At least five individuals spanning two states were involved.

A search of 37 Reed St. revealed evidence of “drug use, drug distribution, and a firearms offense,” according to the State Police report. The search revealed that major illicit operations likely have been occurring from this property.

The report states, “During a search of a downstairs living room area that a witness later described as Joshua Garcia’s and Gianni Gamble’s [two of the five men facing charges] room, police found more than 10,000 bags of fentanyl [approximately 223 grams], over 9 ounces of cocaine base [approximately 260 grams], and approximately 52 grams of crack cocaine. Two handguns also were recovered, one of which was found to be stolen out of New Hampshire. Additional ammunition also was found.”

The execution of the search involved multiple organizations including “the Vermont Drug Task Force; the Vermont State Police Tactical Services Unit, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Field Force Division, Crisis Negotiation Unit, Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program and Bomb Squad; the FBI; the Springfield Police Department; and the Springfield Fire Department.”

A months-long investigation preceded the warrant. The Vermont Drug Task Force had been monitoring alleged distribution of fentanyl and cocaine from the location. Undercover officers were used.

The report states, “The Vermont Drug Task Force investigation involved the use of confidential informants who purchased fentanyl and cocaine from Spaulding on two separate occasions and Morey on one occasion, along with a single purchase of cocaine from Marsh.”

Having officers go undercover within criminal operations offers much opportunity and safety risks. The National Executive Institute Associates (NEIA) writes, “They allow you to penetrate criminal organizations not susceptible to other investigative techniques. Those gains, however, are not without their price. Placing officers in undercover roles exposes them to some physical and emotional dangers not normally present in police work.”

For this operation, five individuals are facing various drug-related and/or distribution-related charges among Michael Spaulding, Jesse Morey, Douglas Marsh, Joshua Garcia, and Gianni Gamble. Three older men are from Vermont and two younger men are from Massachusetts.

From Vermont, there is Spaulding, 50, who is facing charges for sales of cocaine and fentanyl on at least two occasions for each. There is also Morey, 31, and Marsh, 54, each facing charges for one sale of each.

Marsh may be in other trouble. It states, “At the time of his arrest for the sale of cocaine, Marsh had active arrest warrants for offenses unrelated to this investigation, including possession of heroin and possession of stolen property. Bail on the Windsor County warrants was set at $1,000.”

Two more younger men are involved from Springfield Massachusetts. Gamble, 22, and Garcia, 25, are facing more charges. Gamble faces “Fentanyl Trafficking, Cocaine Trafficking, Person Prohibited from Possessing a Firearm, Possession of Stolen Property.” Garcia is facing “​​Fentanyl Trafficking, Cocaine Trafficking, Possession of Stolen Property.”

The Vermont Department of Health reports that for the year, overdose deaths are related to Fentynal are down compared to prior years.

Their report states, “As of the end of March, there have been 41 opioid-related accidental and undetermined deaths among Vermont residents. The number of opioid deaths is lower than the three-year average through March. Caledonia County currently has the highest rate of opioid deaths [16.4 per 100,000 residents]; this rate is statistically similar to Vermont overall [6.3 per 100,000 residents].

Another challenge with crack-cocaine is that its effects are short-lived, maybe up to about a half hour or less, meaning users will often consume it repeatedly over short periods of time.

The River Rock Treatment Center in Vermont states that “This short high can also lead users to take many doses over a short period of time, increasing their risk of an overdose.”

The author is a writer for the Vermont Daily Chronicle


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