Dover police officer’s sharp eye led to drug bust

DOVER — Before obtaining a search warrant that located what was later described as a “significant” amount of heroin on Tuesday, a Dover Police Department officer said he witnessed what appeared to be an alleged drug transaction behind a hotel, according to court documents.

An approximate two-week investigation culminated with the arrest of a 28-year-old Smyrna man and the alleged discovery of 6,936 bags of heroin and $13,075 in cash in a room at the First State Inn at 1760 N. DuPont Highway, authorities said when announcing the case on Thursday.

11dsn Darren Swiggett by .

Darren Swiggett

Afterward, a Dover police spokesman said the seizure included an unusually high amount of drugs, though authorities respond to heroin-related calls almost daily.

According to papers, Darren Swiggett allegedly was seen exiting a First State Inn room registered to him and conducting “what appeared to be a hand-to-hand drug transaction,” with a man whose name was redacted in the affidavit of probable cause.

Mr. Swiggett returned to his room, police said, and the man drove away before being contacted during a traffic stop.

An ensuing search led to the alleged discovery of 78 bags of heroin in the vehicle stamped “BLACK TIGER” and weighing approximately 1.17 grams, according to police in documents.

Investigation found that 78 bags allegedly were purchased for $300, authorities said in documents.

A positive identification of Mr. Swiggett was made through the Delaware Criminal Justice Information System, police said, and a search warrant was obtained for his room at the First State Inn.

The hotel room search at approximately 4:24 p.m. led to the alleged discovery of suspected heroin in blue cellophane bags located in a refrigerator stamped “BLACK TIGER” and “TURBO,” police said in papers.

Thirteen rounds of .357 Magnum ammunition and 17 rounds of Luger 9mm ammunition allegedly were found during the search, police said, along with approximately 1.7 grams of suspected marijuana that later tested positive.

Police said Mr. Swiggett was arrested without incident. He was arraigned through videophone at Justice of the Peace Court 2 in Rehoboth Beach and held at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna on $211,000 cash bond.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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