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Rubber bands, cotton swabs lead to highway heroin arrest

WHATELY — State police arrested a Vermont man and woman on heroin charges after an Interstate 91 traffic stop.

Nicholas J. Marrocco, 58, and Lynette R. Murphy, 47, both of Bellows Falls, Vt., were arrested on charges of possession of heroin (subsequent offense), being in the presence of heroin, and conspiracy to violate drug laws. Marrocco also faces charges of driving with a suspended license, failure to stay in marked lanes, and driving with a broken taillight.

At about 11:25, state police trooper T.J. Tudryn was patrolling I-91 north, when he saw a gray Toyota Corolla weaving between lanes, according to Tudryn’s police report.

When he pulled the vehicle over, Marrocco was behind the wheel, and said he was tired from driving a friend to Bradley International Airport, according to the report. He told the trooper he had a New York license, but didn’t have it on him, and instead gave Tudryn a military ID, said the report. Tudryn ran the man’s name and found that he had a suspended Vermont license, for which he was initially arrested.

Tudryn then ran Murphy’s name, and found that she, too, had a suspended Vermont license. She was also listed as the owner of the vehicle. With no licensed driver to remove the vehicle, Tudryn called in a tow, and began to inventory the vehicle’s contents, a standard procedure.

“I located a black small rubber band, commonly used for bundling bags of heroin, on the front passenger side floor,” reads his report. He said he also found both broken and intact cotton swabs under the passenger seat, and a plunger from a hypodermic needle in the glove box. Heroin users often use a small piece of cotton as a filter when drawing the drug into a needle.

Tudryn said that led him to believe there was heroin in the vehicle, and he began a full search. In the pocket of a fleece jacket, he found a rubber-banded napkin containing the drug, according to the report.

“I tore the napkin, observing several bundles of blue wax folded baggies stamped A+,” each containing an off-white powder consistent with heroin, said the report.

Tudryn said neither Marrocco nor Murphy admitted to owning the jacket, so he placed both under arrest.

Another trooper searched Murphy’s purse, and found a capped hypodermic needle, a cotton swab, and a solution inside a plastic bag, according to the report.

Once the two were brought to the state police barracks in Northampton, Tudryn searched his cruiser and found five more baggies of heroin that had been shoved under his seat cushion, reads the report. Tudryn said Murphy was seated behind him in the cruiser.

“While at the barracks, Murphy confessed she and Marrocco went down to Connecticut from Vermont to buy heroin,” wrote Tudryn.

Marrocco then admitted that the jacket was his, that he uses heroin, and that the two went to Hartford, Conn., to buy the drug at $5 a bag for personal use, read the report.

A criminal history check revealed that both had previous drug convictions, according to the report.

Marrocco and Murphy were arraigned and pleaded innocent in Greenfield District Court Wednesday, where they are due back Nov. 18 for a pretrial conference.

David Rainville can be reached at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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