Women held against their will in padlocked residences in Rutland were freed Friday by Vermont State Police and Homeland Security.
Members of the Vermont State Police Tactical Services Unit and a Special Response Team of the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Boston Field Office executed two search warrants in Rutland in the early morning of Oct. 22 at two residences, one located at 47 Baxter St. and one at 146 Maple St. The two residences were suspected of being linked by drug trafficking activity.
Prior to executing the search warrant at 146 Maple St., law enforcement had received indicators that women might be confined at that location against their will. During the execution of the warrant at the 146 Maple St. location, VSP troopers and HSI special agents located evidence indicating potential human trafficking, including a padlocked apartment door and multiple chain-link storage areas. Three women were encountered behind the padlocked apartment door. The women did not appear to be injured, but out of an abundance of caution they were checked and cleared by medical personnel. The women are in the process of being interviewed, and a victim witness advocate who specializes in human trafficking is on scene.
Law enforcement is continuing to search and process evidence obtained from both residences. Members of the Vermont State Police, including the Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Narcotics Investigation Unit, and uniformed troopers from the Field Force Division, are working with special agents from HSI’s Burlington Regional Office and Boston Field Office, which covers all of New England. The Rutland City Police Department and Rutland County Sheriff’s Office also provided vital assistance.
Anyone with information that could assist the investigation is asked to contact the HSI tip line at 866-347-2423.