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Cops bust heroin dealers

 JEWETT CITY -- Borough warden Cynthia Kata readily admits she probably wouldn't know a drug dealer if she saw one.

"I think the streets are very clean," Kata said. "Maybe I'm naive."

But during the past month, state troopers have continued to crack down on to what they believe is an rise in illegal drug activity -- heroin in particular, according to Jewett City Resident Trooper George Muriel.

On Wednesday, acting on information developed during the troopers' investigations in Jewett City, state and local police made two more major heroin busts.

In Norwich, police arrested 19-year-old Peter Helms, of 1290 Trumbull Highway, Apt. B, and found with 27 bags of heroin, five additional grams unpackaged and some marijuana. He was allegedly running a drug factory out of his Lebanon apartment, where police discovered a Ruger mini 14 rifle, 17 more grams of heroin, $4,500 in cash and packaging material.

Later in the evening, state and local police converged on a commercial parking lot off Main Street in Willimantic where they seized more than 32 grams of heroin, a vehicle, more than $5,000 in cash and paraphernalia used in the preparation of heroin for street sale.

Police said Lucas Vargas Jr. 37, of 39 Pearl St. in Willimantic was a source and supply of heroin to the area. They estimate the value of the drugs seized at about $20,000 and a potential for more than 2,000 bags of heroin if prepared for street sale.

The two arrests were made by the Statewide Narcotics Taskforce working in conjunction with Montville state police, Jewett City Resident Troopers Office and Norwich police.

Resident troopers also have made several arrests at local bars last month. Last week, police arrested a Louisiana man on a warrant for drug charges stemming from his home state.

Again on Tuesday, two Norwich residents at a vehicle stop in Jewett City were found in possession of 48 bags of heroin, packaging material for street sale and cash.

In the past, Muriel said, where cocaine and crack were more prevalent, there seems to a switch to heroin. He offered no answers as to why the activity has come to Jewett City or why the offenders appear to be increasingly younger.

"We noticed an influx of people from Norwich and other areas -- street-level dealers walking the streets in front of the bars," Muriel said. "But we've made a large impact in just the last month. The message to the public is we can do something about it, and it's working."

Troopers work with numerous federal grants that target drugs and alcohol and provide for longer hours than the designated 40 hours a week, Muriel said. Twenty-hour coverage is provided by state police from Troop E in Montville.

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