By Guy Page
When drug dealers ply their trade in Vermont, everyone else loses. But recent news reports suggest that often, women are the biggest losers.
Sometimes the drug dealers beat the women. Consider this report about the heartless, Darwinian world of the drug trade as printed in the Sept. 18 Barton Chronicle: accused drug dealer Corey Green, 45, of Orleans is being held in jail on attempted murder, assault and robbery, and aggravated assault after allegedly knocking a woman to the ground at 3 p.m. July 2 and then standing over her and beating and attempting to strangle her. “He knows I get a lot of money the first on the month,” the woman told police according to the news report. “He lured me to come to see him, with the hopes I would have money on me which is why he took my purse,” she said.
What could have possibly “lured” this woman, flush with cash from a first-of-the-month payment, to visit Mr. Green at 3 a.m.? Clearly not his good looks, sense of humor or friendly company. It seems far more likely he had what she craved and could (for the moment) afford: hard drugs.
This is the power of the male drug dealer over addicted women: “you’ve got to come to me. Your addiction leaves you no choice. And what happens when you do is strictly up to me.”
Sometimes the drug dealers take over their homes. After a recent Vermont Daily Chronicle report about drug abuse, a former owner of an Essex Junction apartment house said it was a recurring theme: drug dealer from out-of-state blows into town, finds addicted woman, uses her dwelling as a base-of-operations, and then blows out of town when the heat is on — leaving the woman, who was essentially held hostage due to her addiction, to deal with the police and any unhappy customers. Vermont Daily Chronicle heard the identical story from a central Vermont substance abuse counselor: out-of-state drug dealer connects with woman drug addict, uses her apartment and sometimes her body as he sees fit, then leaves. It works out great for the dealer, who gets a temporary base-of-operations at little cost and no strings. If he put a woman and possibly her children through hell, that’s not his problem.
Sometimes the drug dealers sell women’s drug-addicted bodies in the sex trade. As reported May 10, 2019 by the Vermont U.S. Attorney’s Office, “a federal jury in Burlington found Brian Folks, 44, guilty of 13 federal felonies arising from his operation of a violent sex and drug trafficking enterprise that sold heroin and forced young, drug-addicted women to prostitute throughout the greater Burlington area.”
“Brian Folks used violent means to force young women suffering from opioid addictions to perform commercial sex acts, causing them immeasurable harm, and he contributed to the destruction of multiple lives by selling opioids to our communities,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “Human traffickers are exploiting the opioid epidemic with increasing frequency. Their depraved conduct, like this defendant’s, will not be tolerated, and the Department of Justice will continue its vigorous efforts to hold them accountable, bring justice to their victims, and prevent them from harming others.”
The federal government, at least, seems intent on taking down these evil predators. But what about Vermont state government?
Here in Vermont, state government lost several years of multi-million dollar federal funding to fight drug crime because it insisted on being a “sanctuary state” as defined by the federal government. (The money has since been recouped.)
Here in Vermont, progressive elements of our Legislature seem more interested in emptying our prisons and decriminalizing possession of heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and other hard drugs. There is a strange unwillingness to even acknowledge how out-of-state drug gangs are targeting Vermont because of the high street price of heroin, the relatively less homicidal competition, and (increasingly) official Vermont’s insistence that substance abuse isn’t both a criminal and treatment problem. They also seem to resist the lesson of marijuana legalization elsewhere — that the black market actually prospers.
Here in Vermont, former Gov. Peter Shumlin, now a Harvard lecturer, this morning told Dave Gram on WDEV that drug laws are terribly unfair, allowing white collar opioid companies to get off scot-free while “a person of color can sell a gram of cocaine and get sent away for life.”
Here in Vermont, real life suggests otherwise. Just last week, Alex Xavier Rodriguez, a convicted Springfield, Massachusetts drug dealer, was arrested with a large amount of heroin in his possession. They gave him a $25,000 bail which he promptly paid and was released. No doubt Mr. Rodriguez will never, ever see the inside of the court, unless he’s foolish enough to return to Vermont, get caught, and appear before an unsympathetic judge. His alleged partner is being held, in part because he violated probation after getting a “time-served” sentence for felony heroin charges and lying to police. Apparently there are limits to which organized drug crime soldiers can push the Vermont criminal justice system.
The woeful connection between substance abuse — be it alcohol or illegal drugs — and physical abuse of women by men is well-known. The connection becomes particularly toxic when the physically powerful, morally bankrupt male holds the key to alleviating the woman’s unbearable drug cravings, if only temporarily and at horrendous cost. Our Legislature prides itself on protecting and empowering women’s rights. How about protecting addicted women from their predators by empowering cops and courts to make Vermont less of a safe haven.
See more of Guy Page’s reports at the Vermont Daily Chronicle.