Two local residents were arrested and charged with selling drugs on Monday, according to a release from the Vermont State Police Drug Task Force.

On Monday, the Vermont State Police arrested Nicole M. Jones, 40, and George R. Staples, 27, in Rutland, according to the release. Both live in Rutland.

At the time of her arrest, Jones had about 1,583 milligrams of fentanyl and Staples had about 1,157 milligrams of fentanyl.

Jones was charged with a felony count of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, a felony count of fentanyl trafficking and a misdemeanor count of selling regulated drugs from a home while Staples was charged with three felony counts of sale of crack cocaine and a felony count of fentanyl trafficking

Both were arraigned on Tuesday. Jones and Staples pleaded not guilty and were released without bail.

Each of the counts of selling crack cocaine against Staples is punishable by up to five years in jail if he is convicted. The charge against Jones of selling drugs from a home is punishable by two years and the charge of conspiracy to sell drugs is punishable by five years in jail.

The charge of fentanyl trafficking, with which both Jones and Staples are charged, carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in jail, if they are convicted.

The release said members of the Vermont Drug Task Force, Vermont State Police Field Force and detectives with the Rutland City Police Department executed a search warrant at Jones' home on Lincoln Avenue and found an additional 609 milligrams of fentanyl.

The investigation, which began in the summer, involved information provided by confidential informants and coordination of controlled buys of crack cocaine from Jones' home.

Jones had three children living with her. Staff with the Vermont Department for Children and Families was contacted and assisted the task force.

After their arrest, Judge David Fenster imposed conditions of release on Jones and Staples and ordered them to appear at Rutland criminal court on Tuesday.

Ian Sullivan, chief deputy state's attorney, prosecuted the case during the arraignment.

Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to contact the Vermont Drug Task Force at 773-9101 or submit a tip via anonymously.

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