Raid nets suspected drug dealer


NAUGATUCK — Police have arrested a suspected drug dealer who they say stashed more than $23,000 in cash and cooked crack cocaine in his Spring Street apartment.

The Naugatuck Police Department executed a search warrant Monday at the apartment of Jerome “Slim” Brantley, 33, who has lived at 204 Spring St., unit 14, for seven months. Police found $3,000 in cash in a bedroom table drawer, $19,700 in a Tupperware bin in a bedroom closet and $905 in the pockets of the pants Brantley was wearing, along with drugs.

Brantley also was found with body armor, police said.

Police found evidence that Brantley was operating a drug factory out of his apartment, according an arrest warrant affidavit on file at Waterbury Superior Court. Brantley, a 6-foot, 2-inch man who is unemployed, single and has no children, also admitted to police that he cooked crack cocaine in his apartment, sold crack, powder cocaine and heroin, and that he was not proud of it, according to court documents.

He was charged with several crimes, including multiple counts of possession with intent to sell narcotics, criminal possession of body armor, operating a drug factory, possession of narcotics and selling drugs within 1,500 feet of a school. He was held on a $250,000 bond.

Police said they learned from an informant that Brantley was selling drugs and had received multiple complaints from neighbors about his drug-related activity. Police said they had an informant make undercover buys that they recorded with video and audio.

After Monday’s raid, Brantley told police he grew up in New Haven, began selling drugs at age 13 and had spent six years of his adult life in prison. He claimed he couldn’t get a decent job because of his criminal record — his last legitimate job was as a dishwasher at the now-defunct Crossroads Cantina in Waterbury in 2009-10. He said that didn’t work out, so he returned to drug sales full-time.

He “continued to sell narcotics because that’s what he knew how to do,” he told police, saying that he accepted cash or other items in exchange for drugs, and claimed the reason he had body armor is because someone had exchanged it for drugs.

A friend or relative leased him the apartment so he would have a decent place to live and that person had no idea he was selling drugs, he told police.

Since he moved there in May, he has been making crack cocaine out his apartment, using a Cuisinart blender to make crack and packaging drugs in small baggies, some of which had stamps showcasing the popular TV show “Breaking Bad,” court documents state.

“He wanted to appeal to a larger group of people, so he began selling cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin,” the warrant stated.

In an effort to make sure he didn’t get hooked on cocaine, he wore latex gloves and an air mask while he was making drugs, he told police, according to the documents.

“Brantley stated he isn’t proud of his actions, and he is sorry for any harm he may have caused,” police wrote.