An enterprising Danbury woman found herself in cuffs after cops caught onto to her illegal alcohol and cigarette sales.
Vera Ribeiro-Menezes, 63, was arrested Friday for a variety of criminal offenses associated with illegal alcohol and cigarette sales at her Danbury home, said Danbury Police Det. Lt. Mark Williams.
For several months prior to the arrest, members of the department's Patrol Division noticed that the address was generating a lot of foot traffic. Further investigation revealed that the foot traffic was the result of Ribeiro-Menezes, illegally selling alcohol and cigarettes from her residence, Williams said.
According to police, patrons were buying single containers of beer for $3, assorted alcohol (nips) for $2 and individual cigarettes for $1. Hence, the investigation named “Operation 3-2-1.”
Officers, along with the Community Conditions Unit and Special Investigations Division were able to obtain a search warrant based on their findings and attempted to serve the warrant around 2 p.m. Friday after watching several people coming and going, Williams said.
In addition to Ribeiro-Menezes, a young toddler was seen in the residence, police said
When officers approached with the warrant, instead of opening the door, Ribeiro-Menezes retreated to an unknown room, which caused officers to force entry. It was later determined that she was attempting to destroy evidence, Williams said.
When the search of the residence was completed, “Operation 3-2-1” seized nearly $12,000 cash, 861 cans of beer, 2,251 nips, and 5,563 cigarettes. The street value of the contraband equaled more than $12,000, he added.
Ribeiro-Menezes was arrested and charged with interfering with a search, destruction of evidence, risk of injury to a child, unlicensed sale of cigarettes, and dispensing liquor with a permit.
She was transported to the police department where she was processed for the listed offenses and later released for a written promise to appear in court at a later date.
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