BENNINGTON >> An Arlington man accused of bringing 77 bags of heroin into the state to sell has been released under $5,000 bail and conditions restricting his movement.
Michael T. Crawford, 31, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Vermont Superior Court Criminal Division Bennington Unit to a felony count of possession of two grams or more of heroin. He was arrested Wednesday by State Police and lodged at the Rutland jail for lack of $5,000 bail, but posted it and appeared in court Thursday on his own.
Deputy State's Attorney Robert Plunkett argued that Crawford's bail be increased to $75,000 because the charge carries a serious penalty — a potential 30-year sentence — and that Crawford has a record of not following court directions.
Crawford's attorney, Jeff Rubin, of the Bennington County Public Defender's Office, argued for the current bail amount to be left in place, pointing out that his client showed up to court like he was supposed to on Thursday, and has close ties to the community.
Judge David Howard left the bail in place, but added a number of conditions to go along with it, namely that Crawford abide by a 2 p.m. to 10 a.m. curfew at a home in Arlington and that he not leave the county without permission from the court.
In Vermont, bail can only be used to keep a defendant from fleeing the court's jurisdiction. Conditions of release must also be the least restrictive possible to ensure public safety and future court appearances.
According to an affidavit by Vermont State Trooper Lucas Hall, on Wednesday at 5:35 p.m. he saw Crawford driving north on Route 7A and pulled him over for a suspected violation. He asked Crawford to step out of the vehicle based on his observations of Crawford and items he saw in the car. During a "pat down" Hall found heroin in Crawford's pocket. A total of 77 bags of heroin labeled "True Religion" were found to be in Crawford's possession. The car was then searched and turned up drug paraphernalia.
After being arrested, Crawford told police that earlier in the day he went to the Holyoke Mall in Holyoke, Mass., where he paid a person nicknamed "Deuce" $200 for 80 bags of heroin. He used three of the bags, then came back to Arlington where he was stopped by Hall. Crawford said he planned to sell the heroin for $20 per bag to friends in the Arlington area, using the potential $1,300 profit to purchase car parts.
— Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at 802-447-7567 Ext. 115