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Vt. woman arrested in Holyoke with 1,400 heroin packets

A Vermont woman was arrested in Holyoke for allegedly attempting to transport a large quantity of heroin back to the Green Mountain State, Massachusetts State Police said Saturday.

A state trooper pulled over Nicole Farone, 41, of South Wallingford, Vt., on Route 91 North at about 10 p.m. Wednesday and, after talking with her and a passenger, found about 1,400 packets of heroin, according to a statement from State Police.

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Farone was charged with heroin trafficking, conspiracy to violate drug laws, knowingly being present where heroin is being kept, and a marked lanes violation, State Police said. She was held on $5,000 bail.

The passenger, Kasey Cota, 23, of Rutland, Vt., received a summons to appear in court for charges of drug possession and conspiracy, State Police said.

More than $2 million in heroin and other opiates are trafficked into Vermont each week, Governor Peter Shumlin told state lawmakers in a State of the State address on Jan. 8 that focused almost exclusively on the issue.

Wednesday’s arrest was one of several recent drug seizures during traffic stops across the region that appear connected to Vermont’s heroin trade.

Just after 4 p.m. Thursday, Mohamed Mohamed, 23, of Burlington, Vt., Micheal J. Mayse, 27, of Irvington, N.J., and Shayna Baldwin, 22, of Newark, were stopped while driving north on Interstate 87 in Queensbury, N.Y., according to a statement from New York State Police.

A state trooper pulled the trio’s 2011 Honda over for speeding and recovered 500 bags of heroin, a semiautomatic pistol, and a small amount of marijuana, New York State Police said.

Mayse and Baldwin face drug charges, and Mohamed was charged with criminal possession of a weapon.

Then, just before 1 a.m. Friday, Vermont State Police arrested a Hartford, Conn., man with about 30 grams of heroin and cocaine concealed in “numerous baggies . . . inside an orifice,” according to a State Police statement.

Roberto Pabon, 33, was a passenger in a vehicle pulled over for a traffic violation in Rutland, Vt., leading to the execution of several search warrants, Vermont State Police said.

In the past two years, Vermont State Police have seen a nearly five-fold increase in heroin investigations and an almost 250 percent increase in seized heroin, Colonel Thomas L’Esperance, director of the State Police, told the US Senate Judiciary Committee last week, according to prepared remarks.

“Although it can be more difficult to find solutions in a rural state such as Vermont, the fundamentals of illegal drug markets are the same everywhere,” L’Esperance said. “Where there is a demand, there will always be a supply.”

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.
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