Dave St. Pierre
ST. ALBANS — A major heroin supplier, high on a list of drug dealers sought by police, has been arrested following an auto chase that put children’s lives in danger, police said this morning.
Kurt Andall, 29, of St. Albans City, was arrested at about 4 p.m. Wednesday after an alleged sale of heroin to an undercover officer.
According to St. Albans Police Chief Gary Taylor, the sale took place on North Elm Street. Police then attempted to stop Andall’s car, but he fled in the vehicle south on North Elm then east on Lake Street. Two Vermont State Police cruisers were traveling west on Lake in an effort to cut off Andall’s escape route.
Andall, according to Taylor, then leapt from the car while it was still moving and the vehicle struck a fence, injuring one child who was playing outside and endangering others. Information regarding the child’s injury was unavailable as of press time.
“He recklessly swerved into his driveway, barely missing a small child, who is his own child,” Taylor said.
Andall reported ran into his house at 176 Lake St., pursued by officers of the St. Albans Police Dept. (SAPD) and the Vermont State Police. He resisted arrest, getting into a physical altercation with officers, according to Taylor.
He is being charged with attempting to elude police, reckless endangerment, careless operation of a vehicle, and resisting arrest.
Andall also faces federal charges for the sale of a class one substance.
The U.S. attorney’s office has until Oct. 16 to seek an indictment against Andall, according to Deputy U.S. Attorney Wendy Fuller. Fuller today declined to comment on whether such an indictment will be sought.
The penalty for selling heroin is up to 20 years in prison and a fine.
Although Andall was born in Trinidad, Lt. Matt Birmingham, commander of the Vermont Drug Task Force, said he believed he is now a U.S. citizen.
Andall has been living in Vermont since at least Sept. 2008, when he was arrested with two others for robbing immigrant farm workers in Grand Isle County.
Birmingham said, “He (Andall) has been moving a substantial amount of heroin into the area from outside the state.”
Some of the alleged dealers arrested earlier this week were working with Andall, according to Birmingham.
The Vermont Drug Task Force and local law enforcement agencies had sought Andall as part of Operation Northern Lights, a multi-agency effort to arrest 50 Franklin County drug suspects that was launched Monday with raids involving 80 officers.
A federal complaint and warrant for Andall were issued on Sept. 16. The complaint includes an affidavit from Det. Sgt. Ben Couture of SAPD.
According to the affidavit, the Vermont Drug Task Force began an investigation of heroin distribution in Franklin County this past summer. An unidentified person, referred to in the affidavit as a confidential informant or CI, agreed to cooperate with the investigation in exchange for consideration on other criminal charges.
The informant said he or she had been purchasing heroin from someone named “Life” for the past three years.
Couture stated he recognized Life as Andall and showed the CI a photo of Andall.
CI identified Andall as his or her drug supplier.
Starting in November 2012, CI said he or she had received between six and 10 sleeves of heroin from Life four or five times per month. Each sleeve contains 100 doses of heroin.
SAPD had been investigating Andall for some time, according to an affidavit by Couture.
On Sept. 9, CI allegedly made a controlled purchase of heroin from Andall as police watched. The purchase was recorded, as were some of the phone calls between CI and Andall to arrange the purchase, according to police.
During one conversation Andall said CI owed him $6,700 for previous sales. CI said he or she had $500 to pay toward that debt, and the two arranged to meet.
The sale took place at the corner of Pearl and Cedar streets at approximately 7:20 p.m. In exchange for the $500, CI received a white bag containing 8.1 grams of heroin, said police.
The alleged drug deal on Wednesday was a separate sale.
Police also reported Wednesday that Rachel Wells, 37, of Fletcher, had surrendered to police. Her arrest and Andall’s brought to 39 the number of drug suspects cited and facing criminal prosecution in connection with this week’s drug sweep.