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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Vermont

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 24, 2017

Federal Grand Jury Returns Indictments Against New Jersey Men and Two Vermonters For Drug-Related Crimes

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont and the Vermont State Police announce:

On March 23, 2017, a federal Grand Jury returned Indictments charging Francesco Escribano (34), a.k.a. “Brisco,” of Jersey City, New Jersey, Richard Torruellas (22), a.k.a. “Scoob,” of Jersey City, New Jersey, and Alyssa Grace (20), of Brandon, Vermont, with drug-related crimes. The Indictment alleges that on March 15, 2017, Torruellas and Grace distributed heroin, and that on March 16, 2017, all three defendants possessed both fentanyl and cocaine base with the intent to distribute those controlled substances.

Also on March 23, 2017, the Grand Jury returned a separate Indictment charging Wayne Oddo with being a drug user in possession of firearms.

Today, all four defendants appeared for arraignment before The Honorable John M. Conroy, United States Magistrate Judge. All four pled not guilty to the charges against them. Judge Conroy ordered Escribano detained pending trial at his initial appearance on February 17, 2017. At today’s arraignments, Judge Conroy held hearings on the government motions for pretrial detention of Torruellas, Grace, and Oddo. Judge Conroy ordered all three defendants detained pending trial. As to Grace and Oddo, Judge Conroy expressed a willingness to consider releasing them in the future upon the submission of plans that included drug and mental health treatment regimens.

Law enforcement became aware of Oddo during the on-going investigation into the death of Alexandra Rooker. Preliminary investigation revealed that Rooker was reported missing on March 8, 2017 by family members who had not heard from her since March 2, 2017. Rooker was reportedly last seen by friends on March 3, when she was dropped off by a friend at the residence of Wayne Oddo, located at 1953 Morse Hollow Road in Poultney. Detectives interviewed Oddo in the last several weeks in an attempt to locate Rooker. Oddo told detectives that Rooker had been at his residence but was no longer there. Investigation further revealed that both Rooker and Oddo are heroin users.

As part of an ongoing drug investigation, Vermont Drug Task Force detectives working closely with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) obtained a search warrant for Oddo’s residence. On Wednesday, March 14, 2017, Vermont State Police troopers, detectives and FBI agents executed the federal search warrant and discovered the body of Alexandra Rooker. During an interview with law enforcement, Oddo admitted he was a heroin user, and that “Scoob” and “Brisco” are heroin dealers who have stayed at his residence, compensating him with heroin. He also said that “Scoob” and “Brisco” stored proceeds from drug sales at his Poultney residence.

According to Court filings, the Vermont State Police Drug Task Force used an informant to conduct controlled buys of heroin from Escribano (aka Brisco), Torruellas (aka Scoob), and Grace in the Rutland area on March 13 and 15, 2017. On March 16, 2017, law enforcement obtained a search warrant for the Rutland hotel room in which the three defendants were staying. Inside the room, law enforcement located 87 bags of suspected fentanyl, and 5.5 grams of suspected cocaine base. The three defendants were arrested on March 16, 2017 and had their initial appearance before Judge Conroy the following day.

Last week, an autopsy was performed on Rooker at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Burlington. Preliminary autopsy results revealed no signs of trauma; determination of cause and manner of death is pending. Time and date of death is unknown and currently under investigation. This death is being treated as suspicious at this time and possibly related to a drug overdose.

The Indictments charging Oddo, Escribano, Torruellas, and Grace contain accusations only; the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Oddo faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment, and Escribano, Torruellas, and Grace each face up to 20 years’ imprisonment. The actual sentence, in the event of conviction, will be determined by the Court with reference to the advisory Federal Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory sentencing factors.

This investigation is collaborative effort by the Vermont State Police Drug Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nate Burris and Joe Perella are handling the prosecution. Oddo is represented by Steven Barth of the Federal Public Defender’s Office. Escribano is represented by Ernest Allen, of Burlington; Torruellas is represented by Bob Behrens, of Burlington; and Grace is represented by Michael Straub, of Burlington.

Topic: 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Updated March 24, 2017