Trio charged with heroin trafficking
By ERIC FRANCIS
CORRESPONDENT | May 07,2013
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A “lived in” looking car allegedly containing a large amount of heroin, drug paraphernalia, and several guns landed three Barre-area residents in court Monday on felony heroin trafficking charges.
What began as a routine traffic stop on Interstate 89 in Hartford late Sunday afternoon quickly snowballed into a search and seizure after Vermont State Police Trooper Richard Slusser said he noticed the car he had lit up with blue lights was taking an unusually long time to roll to a stop. Slusser said he also noticed the two male passengers in the vehicle appeared to make “furtive movements” suggesting they were trying to quickly hide things.
Slusser said the driver of the car, Jessica Partlow, 30, of Plainfield, told him right off the bat that her driver’s license was under suspension.
Trooper Slusser said that when he walked around to talk to the front seat passenger, Scott Haldane, 47, of Barre City, Haldane at first wouldn’t roll down his window. When Haldane finally opened the door, Slusser said he had obvious “track marks” suggesting intravenous drug use up and down his arms and his pants were unbelted and unzipped. The trooper said Haldane offered up one small baggie of heroin but when he turned around there was an obvious bulge in the seat of his pants “the size of a pool ball” which Slusser said turned out to be 35 grams of heroin — which is ten times the threshold weight needed to support a charge of felony heroin trafficking under Vermont law.
A further search of the car turned up a .22-caliber handgun on the floor in the backseat area which Slusser said rear seat passenger Gunnar Lunde, 23, of Barre City admitted was what he was observed hiding as the car rolled to a stop. Two rifles were discovered in the trunk.
Troopers came across Paltrow’s purse in the back seat and said it contained a pouch with her ID inside along with “numerous needles, a bottle of water, and a “cooking spoon” that appeared to be used to prepare drugs. Underneath the driver’s seat where Paltrow had been sitting, police found another bag with more needles, water, a belt, an elastic strap and another cooking spoon. A wooden marijuana pipe was found in the car’s glove compartment.
All three occupants of the car took turns appearing before Judge Robert Gerety Monday afternoon in the White River Junction courthouse, where they each entered an innocent pleas to a felony count of heroin trafficking, a charge which carries on conviction a potential maximum prison term of up to 30 years.
Haldane was described as a resident of Barre for the past 25 years who is currently unemployed and he was ordered held for lack of $50,000 bail.
Partlow, the mother of two young children, was described as a full-time employee of a local manufacturing company who has been participating in a “suboxone program” narcotics detox effort for the past three years.
She was also ordered held for lack of $50,000 bail.
Lunde, who was already facing a pending felony burglary charge in Washington County, was described as unemployed and he was ordered held for lack of $25,000 bail.