Chester man found to head Vermont heroin ring

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By Pamela Chergotis
CHESTER — Joshua “Rozay” Rose of Chester, N.Y., pleaded guilty this week to distributing heroin in Vermont.

Federal prosecutors say he headed a drug distribution ring that sold heroin to David Blanchard, a 28-year-old Rutland, Vt., man whose death from an overdose in August 2012 set off a federal investigation.

Craig Nolan, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted Rose and five others in U.S. District Court in Rutland, told The Chronicle Wednesday that Rose was indicted on July 24, 2013, and on June 4 of this year changed his plea to guilty, with no plea agreement. Rose was charged with "knowingly and willingly entering into a conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of a mixture containing a detectable amount of heroin."

Nolan said Rose procured heroin from dealers in the Bronx and brought it north to sell on the streets of Rutland. Blanchard was sold the lethal dose by Debra Bristol, who purchased it from Rose, he said. Bristol was among those indicted.

Nolan said that in the middle of the investigation, Rose was also arrested for dealing drugs in New York City.

Newspapers in Vermont are reporting that Rose may be charged with homicide in connection with Blanchard's death. But Nolan said, "I can't comment on what might happen in the future."

Peter Graziano, the Village of Chester Police chief, said his department has had "some contact with (Rose) since 2009 for various things." He said that while in the village, Rose "did have a couple of drug arrests, harassment, criminal mischief, things like that."

Dan Doellinger, the Town of Chester police chief, also recognized Rose's name.

"We haven’t dealt with Rose since 2012," Doellinger said in an email. "All of our contacts with him involved assisting the village police with incidents that he was involved in except for one incident four years ago when he was disorderly while present as a student in the high school."


VERMONT'S 'FULL-BLOWN HEROIN CRISIS'

Vermont has one of the worst heroin epidemics in the country. Its governor, Peter Shumlin, devoted his entire state of the state speech this year to what he called the "full-blown heroin crisis" exploding in his state.

He said heroin was flowing to Vermont from big cities elsewhere.

"Due to our proximity to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and other cities where heroin is cheap, dealers can make a lot of money from addicts in Vermont," he said in his speech. "A $6 bag of heroin in New York City can go for up to $30 here. So think about that: a $6 purchase could sell for five times as much, just a few hours up the interstate."

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