BENNINGTON, Vt. (NEWS10) — A Massachusetts pair is behind bars after they allegedly kidnapped a Bennington woman Monday over a drug debt. Maurice Edwards, 31, of Springfield, and Jacquelyn L. Valdez, 30, of Northampton, were jailed on charges of kidnapping, unlawful trespass into an occupied dwelling, trafficking fentanyl, and possession of cocaine.
Late Monday afternoon, the Bennington Police Department was told that a Bennington woman, 30, had been kidnapped and taken to Springfield, Massachusetts. Investigators learned that the woman would be returned to Bennington for payment of someone else’s outstanding $1,500 drug debt. An individual working with police told the kidnappers that the money would be paid and that they should bring the woman back to Vermont.
At about 1:10 a.m. Tuesday, Bennington Police found the victim, and four other people, in a car in front of 258 Benmont Avenue. According to police, when Edwards and Valdez exited the car with the victim, the two suspects saw police and ran into an apartment at the Benmont Avenue address.
Officers made sure the victim was safe and uninjured. They also learned at that time that the other two people in the car were Uber employees.
Police then found Edwards and Valdez inside an apartment illegally, and they were arrested without incident. During Edwards’ and Valdez’s arrest, police say they seized about eight grams of suspected fentanyl, 20 blue pills suspected to be fentanyl, and 31 grams of suspected cocaine.
Police also located a black and silver Ruger LCP .380 caliber handgun, according to reports. Police said the handgun wasn’t loaded, but a loaded magazine with five .380 full metal jacket bullets was recovered in the kitchen area. The handgun along with a cellphone and suspected fentanyl was found in the bathroom.
Edwards and Valdez will appear in Vermont Superior Court-Bennington Criminal Division on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. Both were taken to Marble Valley Correctional Center Tuesday, where they are being held without bail.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Briggs at the Bennington Police Department or through its website.