• Police raid Brandon cabin, seize drugs, arrest three
    By Alan J. Keays Herald Staff | July 21,2005
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    Police arrested three people and seized more than $5,000 in heroin and crack cocaine after raiding a cabin Tuesday in Brandon.

    Ryan S. Tranka, 25, of Mansfield Center, Conn., pleaded innocent Wednesday in Rutland District Court to charges of heroin, marijuana and cocaine possession and a charge of selling cocaine. Tranka, who did not provide police with a street address, was jailed for lack of $75,000 bail.

    Heidi V. McDonald, 38, of Stratton Road in Rutland pleaded innocent Wednesday to charges of cocaine and marijuana possession. She was released to a residential treatment facility in Bradford.

    A third suspect, Amanda R. Root, 23, of Route 30 in Bomoseen invoked her right Wednesday to wait a day before entering a plea to charges of cocaine and heroin possession. She was jailed for lack of $50,000 bail. Root is expected to be arraigned on the charges today.

    Judge Nancy Corsones approved a warrant Tuesday for police to search Tranka's 1989 Ford Probe and a cabin where he was staying at the Maple Grove Cabins complex in Brandon.

    Police said when they raided the apartment, all three suspects were inside. In addition, police said, under a bed in the cabin they found a stash with about 60 heroin bags, $1,400 in cash, and a scale commonly used to weigh drugs for sale. Police said they also found a Bible in a dresser with about $150 in cash hidden in its pages.

    Police said they found about 1 gram of crack cocaine in the cabin's living room.

    Deputy State's Attorney Marc Brierre said in court Wednesday that "a rough estimate" of the street value of the drugs seized was more than $5,000.

    "That's a significant amount," the prosecutor said.

    Tranka told police after his arrest that he had been coming to Vermont for about two months and he had been dating Root, Detective David LaChance wrote in an affidavit. Tranka also said on Monday he and Root drove to Schenectady, N.Y., in his vehicle to get crack cocaine, LaChance wrote.

    "Once in Schenectady, Root met with a guy she knew on the street in Schenectady and she purchased approximately 7 grams of crack cocaine from that guy," the affidavit stated. In exchange, Tranka told police, Root gave the man $500, the detective wrote.

    The pair then returned to the Brandon cabin, according to the affidavit.

    LaChance wrote that he spoke to McDonald outside the cabin after the raid.

    "McDonald advised me that she had purchased some of the crack cocaine found on her person from Tranka earlier in the night and that all of the subjects inside the cabin had been smoking crack cocaine," the detective wrote.

    Contact Alan J. Keays at alan.keays@rutlandherald.com.
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