ST. ALBANS — A Burlington man faces three felony charges for selling and possessing cocaine after a month-long investigation cooperatively conducted by five agencies: the Franklin County Sheriff’s Dept. (FCSO), Vermont State Police (VSP), South Burlington Police Dept., St. Albans Police Dept. and Homeland Security Investigations.
A VSP press statement credits the Vermont Drug Task Force (VDTF) and FCSO with arresting 37-year-old Noor Osman on two counts of selling and one count of possessing cocaine.
The arrest occurred Dec. 19, but the VSP just issued the press statement late Tuesday.
VDTF Det. Jacob Renning wrote in his court affidavits that the VDTF began investigating Osman in November on the suspicion that he was distributing cocaine in Franklin County. The affidavits don’t state the source of those suspicions.
But they do describe the investigation that led to Osman’s arrest. According to Renning’s affidavits, the investigation relied on an informant who worked with the VDTF for financial remuneration, which the affidavit explicitly states “is not contingent upon the identity of the target of the investigation.”
The informant, whose identity is not revealed in the affidavits, as is customary in such investigations, was a self-professed long-time cocaine and opiate user, according to the affidavit.
The informant set up meetings with Osman at locations the VDTF predetermined, locations where the meetings could be under police surveillance at all times.
The purpose of the meetings was for the informant to purchase cocaine base from Osman.
Renning wrote police provided the informant with a picture of Osman from the Vermont Dept. of Motor Vehicles for identification purposes.
Police then equipped the informant with audio and video recording devices, as well as re-recorded VDTF funds.
Renning’s affidavits don’t specify where the meetings occurred. He only described the meetings behind the two cocaine sales with which prosecutors charged Osman.
The informant bought less than 2.5 grams of suspected cocaine from Osman on at least two occasions, according to the affidavit. Renning said preliminary field tests identified the substances as cocaine, and that police sent the substances to the Vermont Forensic Laboratory (VFL) for concrete analysis. The affidavits don’t contain the VFL’s conclusion, but that’s not unusual given the laboratory’s well-known backlog.
Renning wrote police also retrieved a total of eight digital audio files and six digital video files from the transactions. Renning wrote the individual in those recordings matches Osman’s description. Police also recorded at least one transaction from nearby, according to the affidavits.
Renning didn’t identify where police took Osman into custody in his affidavits, but the VSP press statement identifies the location as Industrial Park Road.
Renning did, however, describe Osman as “physically and verbally confrontational” when deputies took him into custody.
Renning wrote police found seven baggies of suspected cocaine in Osman’s left front coat pocket after his arrest, and that Osman told deputies the baggies weren’t his, that he’d purchased the cocaine the prior evening to sell it.
According to the affidavit, Osman said he sold an “eight ball” — 3.5 grams of coke — every other day for the last several months. Osman reportedly told police he paid $200 for the eight ball, and sold it in half-gram packages for $50 each.
Renning wrote his affidavits do “not contain all information currently known regarding this investigation” but “sufficient facts to establish probable cause” concerning the charges.
Osman pleaded not guilty to the charges during his Dec. 19 arraignment. Judge Scot Kline ordered his release on the condition he not buy, have or use regulated drugs without a valid prescription.
Kline did not impose a condition Renning recommended in his affidavit: prohibiting Osman from abusing, harassing or contacting any person he suspects might be the informant on whom police relied in this investigation.
Renning wrote the VDTF made the request “due to [Osman’s] violent and dangerous history,” including an “extensive history [of] intoxication, assaults and domestic disturbances.”