Heroin, guns, money found in Saturday raid in Starksboro

STARKSBORO — Authorities found guns, cash and heroin in a raid on an apartment at 132 Big Hollow Road in Starksboro conducted Saturday morning by Vergennes police with the aid of Vermont State Police from the New Haven barracks.
All four people arrested in the raid on drug charges pled innocent on Monday in Addison Superior Court’s Criminal Division to all counts and were released on bail that ranged from $5,000 to $50,000.
More details about the investigation and raid, and the criminal backgrounds of the defendants, were also revealed in court documents that became public after the Monday arraignments.
Michael David Plummer, 25, of Brooklyn, N.Y., pled innocent to charges of intent to sell or distribute more than 200 milligrams of heroin and to possession of more than 200 milligrams of heroin. Plummer faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for the first charge, and five years and $100,000 for the second offense.
Previously, Plummer had been charged with larceny, disturbing the peace and resisting arrest in North Attleboro, Mass. On Monday, he was released on $50,000 bail.
Sean J. Bailey, 27, a Middlebury native who was living at the scene of Saturday’s bust, pled innocent on Monday to charges of possession of more than 200 milligrams of heroin and possession of two ounces or less of marijuana. He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $100,000 for the first charge, and six months and $500 for the second offense.
Bailey is a registered sex offender in Vermont. His felony convictions and four misdemeanor convictions include those for two sex crimes involving victims under the age of 16 and for domestic assault. He also had an active outstanding warrant for his arrest for escape. He was released on $10,000 bail.
David M. Ciulla and Marley Heath, both 25, hold the lease on the Big Hollow Road apartment police raided. Both pled innocent on Monday to possession of more than a pound of marijuana, a charge with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $100,000 fine, and possession of less than 200 milligrams of heroin, with a potential sentence of one year and $2,000.
Ciulla’s criminal history includes convictions for retail theft and domestic assault and multiple convictions for driving with a suspended license. He also had an active outstanding warrant for his arrest for failure to appear in court in December. All four were lodged at the Chittenden County Correctional Center after their arrest.
According to Vergennes police, during the search of Ciulla and Heath’s apartment, police seized 40 bags of heroin, $10,764 in cash, 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of marijuana, an AK-47 assault rifle and a Saiga 12-gauge shotgun.
Vergennes Police Chief George Merkel said police are also following up information about members of the group selling stolen weapons to drug traffickers from Brooklyn or trading weapons for heroin.
Confidential informants, themselves low-level drug users or sellers, were used to make the arrests, according to court documents, which refer to the confidential informants as “s/he” and “CI #1” and “CI #2” to protect their identities.
According to an affidavit filed by Vergennes Detective Jason Ouellette, one of the informants led to another, who in turn bought $1,000 worth of heroin from Plummer on April 12 at the Starksboro apartment using marked money.
Ouellette then obtained a search warrant from Judge Toor later that day before the raid in the early morning hours of April 13.
According to an affidavit filed by Vergennes officer Adam O’Neill, he, Merkel, and fellow city officers Brent Newton, Neil Mogerly and Bill Wager met VSP Troopers Eugene Duplissis, Eden Neary and Joseph Szarejko at a Starksboro baseball field before heading to the Big Hollow Road apartment, arriving at 2 a.m.
When police entered the second-story apartment there were five people in all. Ciulla jumped out a second-story window and was caught by the waiting Ouellette, according to O’Neill’s affidavit.
According to an affidavit written by Newton, Heath and her dog were combative; the dog was pepper-sprayed, and Heath was “secured, then escorted out of the apartment.”
According to a press release written by Merkel, charges are possible for the fifth occupant of the apartment; the other four were Plummer, Bailey, Ciulla and Heath. Merkel said follow-up interviews could determine whether the fifth person will be charged with any crimes.
The presence of the weaponry proved to be an unexpected wrinkle. Ouellette’s affidavit states that Plummer told police that Ciulla allegedly traded a handgun to Plummer for 20 bags of heroin, and that Plummer later sold the gun in New York for $500. Plummer said he was “later told the gun was stolen” by Ciulla.
“We didn’t have any prior knowledge of these weapons being there when we went in,” Merkel said.
Gun charges, possibly to be filed by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, are still being sorted out, Merkel said.
“We’re still in the process,” he said. “We’re just doing the follow-up on the initial work, and now we’re branching out.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected]

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