Three people, including a Barre woman awaiting trial on heroin-trafficking charges, were arrested following a traffic stop on I-89 that led to the seizure of about 90 bags of fentanyl.
Police said Jamie Masi, 46, of Barre City, was the driver of a vehicle pulled over by South Burlington police just after 11 p.m. Thursday. Officers said they saw signs of drug trafficking in the vehicle and and initiated a search that turned up what police described as “a felonious quantity of suspected fentanyl.”
Two passengers — Daviel Rivera, 38, of Springfield, Massachusetts, and Santos Cordova, 46, of Worcester, Massachusetts — were also arrested.
Masi and Rivera were in violation of pre-trial conditions stemming from separate drug-related arrests.
Masi was arrested in 2020 for heroin trafficking and sales and was under a court-ordered curfew 24 hours a days. Rivera was arrested earlier this year in Winooski for aggravated assault of a police officer and felony cocaine possession. Pre-trial conditions confined Rivera from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Masi was jailed at Chittenden Regional Correction Facility for lack of $2,500 bail. She is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Chittenden Superior Criminal Court on fentanyl trafficking charges, as well as three violations of conditions of release and possession of a regulated drug.
Rivera is scheduled to be arraigned Friday on a fentanyl trafficking charge and violation of conditions of release. He was jailed at Northwest Regional Correctional Facility for lack of bail.
Cordova, who faces fentanyl trafficking charges, was issued a citation to appear in Chittenden Superior Criminal Court on December 1.
The incident comes as the nation is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic and Vermont and other states are dealing with a surge in overdoses.
On Friday, the White House announced $1.5B to assist all states and territories to combat the opioid crisis and support people in recovery. Vermont was awarded $4 million, which will go to the Agency of Human Services to distribute.
“We will be increasing access to opioid use disorder treatment as well as stimulant use disorder treatment including medication for opioid use disorder,” said Roy Belcher, Director of Planning and Community Services for the Division of Substance Use Programs at the Vermont Department of Health. “We will be increasing our regional capacity to implement community specific opioid strategies and we seek to decrease opioid related deaths in the state of Vermont.”
Belcher says the number of deaths is too high. “Sadly in 2021, we had 210 opioid related deaths and this year our most recent available information is through June and we had 94 at that time.”
The White House is investing over $104 million to expand substance use treatment and prevention in rural communities to combat the overdose epidemic.