Friday, November 4, shortly after 9:30 p.m. Trooper Gregory Moretti and his field training officer Trooper Kurt Wilkins were on patrol on Route 91 northbound in Bernardston. Trooper Moretti noted a white Subaru WRX pass him with a temporary tag that was unreadable even at a short distance of only a few feet away in the adjacent lane.
Trooper Moretti attempted to query what little information was visible on the temp plate, but that yielded no results. Trooper Moretti then turned on his cruiser’s blue lights to conduct a stop of the WRX. The white Subaru was very slow to stop for Trooper Moretti, traveling for more than a quarter mile. The two Troopers were able to see three occupants inside the car, as they were moving around and ducking out of view prior stopping.
Once the vehicle came to rest, Troopers Moretti and Wilkins spoke with the operator, JOSHUA FRANCIS, 39, of Essex Vt. FRANCIS stated his Vermont driver’s license was expired, and the two Troopers noticed indicators of drug activity and drug paraphernalia including a needle in plain view on the interior of the car. Investigating with their cruiser mobile data terminal, the two Troopers found FRANCIS’ Vermont license to be suspended.
Due to the WRX taking a long time to stop for them, the evidence of drug usage, needles in the car, and FRANCIS operating with a suspended license, Troopers had FRANCIS and the two passengers: DEVON THOMAS, 31, of Hartford Conn. and TANYA FRANCIS, 39, also on Essex Vt. step out of the vehicle in order to conduct a search. Through conversation with JOSHUA FRANCIS, it was discovered that there was heroin in the WRX. The search revealed that there was more than 30 packets of heroin and 62 grams of a white powdery substance believed to be crack cocaine.
JOSHUA FRANCIS, TANYA FRANCIS, AND DEVON THOMAS were placed under arrest and transported to the Shelburne Falls Barracks for booking. They were arraigned at Greenfield District Court on the following charges:
1. Trafficking In Cocaine;
2. Possession Of Heroin; and
3. Conspiracy To Violate Drug Law.
Additionally, JOSHUA FRANCIS was issued traffic citations for:
1. Unlicensed Operation Of A Motor Vehicle; and
2. Number Plate Violation.