Local woman cited on federal drug charges
BURLINGTON — A federal grand jury late last week indicted a woman originally from Bristol and two men from New Jersey, charging all three with drug-related crimes.
The indictment charges that on March 15, Francesco Escribano, 34, aka “Brisco,” and Richard Torruellas, 22, aka “Scoob,” both of Jersey City, N.J., and Alyssa Grace, 20, engaged in drug-related crimes. Torruellas and Grace are charged with distributing heroin, and the indictment charges that on March 16, all three defendants possessed both fentanyl and cocaine base with the intent to distribute those controlled substances.
The charges stem from police investigation into, and the suspects’ alleged connection to the death of Alexandra Rooker, 26, at a home in Poultney earlier this month.
Rooker, a Fair Haven resident, was reported missing on March 8 by family members who had not heard from her since March 2. Rooker was reportedly last seen by friends on March 3, when she was dropped off by a friend at the residence of Wayne Oddo, located on Morse Hollow Road in Poultney. Detectives interviewed Oddo in the last several weeks in an attempt to locate Rooker. Oddo told detectives that Rooker had been at his residence but was no longer there. Police said their investigation further revealed that both Rooker and Oddo are heroin users.
As part of an ongoing drug investigation, Vermont Drug Task Force detectives working closely with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained a search warrant for Oddo’s residence. On Wednesday, March 14, Vermont State Police troopers, detectives and FBI agents executed the federal search warrant and discovered Rooker’s body. According to police, during an interview with law enforcement, Oddo admitted he was a heroin user, and that “Scoob” and “Brisco” are heroin dealers who have stayed at his residence, compensating him with heroin. He also said that “Scoob” and “Brisco” stored proceeds from drug sales at his Poultney residence.
The grand jury returned a separate indictment on March 23, charging Oddo with being a drug user in possession of firearms.
According to court filings, the VSP Drug Task Force used an informant to conduct controlled buys of heroin from Escribano, Torruellas and Grace in the Rutland area on March 13 and 15. On March 16, law enforcement obtained a search warrant for the Rutland hotel room in which the three defendants were staying. Inside the room, law enforcement located 87 bags of suspected fentanyl, and 5.5 grams of suspected cocaine base. The three defendants were arrested on March 16 and had their initial appearance before U.S. Judge John M. Conroy the following day.
Last week, an autopsy was performed on Rooker at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Burlington. Preliminary autopsy results revealed no signs of trauma; determination of cause and manner of death is pending. Time and date of death is unknown and currently under investigation. This death is being treated as suspicious at this time and possibly related to a drug overdose.
On March 23, all four defendants were arraigned before Conroy, a U.S. magistrate judge. All four pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. Judge Conroy ordered Escribano detained pending trial at his initial appearance on Feb. 17. At the March 24 arraignments, Conroy held hearings on the government motions for pretrial detention of Torruellas, Grace and Oddo, and ordered all three defendants jailed pending trial. As to Grace and Oddo, Judge Conroy expressed a willingness to consider releasing them in the future upon the submission of plans that included drug and mental health treatment counseling.
If convicted, Oddo faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment, and Escribano, Torruellas and Grace each face up to 20 years.
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