A local man was ordered held without bail on Wednesday after being arraigned on four felony counts related to selling cocaine.
Lawrence Jackson, 50, of Rutland, pleaded not guilty in Rutland criminal court to one felony count of trafficking cocaine, three felony counts of selling cocaine and one misdemeanor count each of cocaine possession and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
On the four felony charges, Jackson was charged as a habitual offender, a sentencing enhancement under which a person convicted of three or more felonies could be, if convicted of another felony charge, sentenced to up to life in prison. Jackson has nine felony convictions, dating back to 1988, mostly for drug-related charges.
In an affidavit, Jackson was described as having a lengthy criminal history in New York including a recent conviction for possessing cocaine with the intent of selling it on Nov. 10 in the state of New York.
The charges for which he was arraigned on Friday are based on multiple affidavits. One, written by Detective Cpl. Adam Lucia, of the Rutland City Police Department, said Lucia had received a tip about a man known to police as being “active in the drug trade.”
According to the affidavit, the man had been released from custody under court-ordered conditions that included a curfew except for medical and legal appointments.
Police followed the man and his girlfriend from the Howe Center to a Killington Avenue home where Jackson allegedly lived. Lucia said police had received information from “numerous” sources that Jackson was selling drugs from the home and also had guns inside the apartment.
The man was taken into custody after leaving the home and brought to the Rutland City police station where he agreed to speak with Lucia.
According to the affidavit, the man admitted he had bought cocaine and cocaine base from Jackson in the past but said on Tuesday he bought heroin.
The man told police he had expected to go back to the home later the same day to buy cocaine from Jackson who he said had firearms, which he described as a .40 caliber handgun and a .410 Judge revolver.
A member of the Vermont State Police Narcotics Investigation Unit told Lucia the NIU officers were expected to cite Jackson for three charges of selling crack cocaine from alleged incidents in August and September 2020.
Among the charges for which Jackson was arraigned on Wednesday were one accusation of selling cocaine in August 2020 and two for selling cocaine in September 2020. The fourth charge was from an allegation of selling cocaine on Tuesday.
Police were granted a search warrant but Jackson was not at the home. A loaded Taurus Judge revolver and ammunition was found at the home.
Lucia said police spotted Jackson in a 2007 Ford Freestyle on Lafayette Street where he was stopped and taken into custody for the three charges of selling cocaine.
Lucia said Jackson had more than $2,000 and a folded $1 bill, inside of which was a substance that field tested positive as fentanyl. The material inside the baggie Jackson had field tested positive for cocaine base, according to the affidavit.
After police were granted a search warrant for the car, Lucia said he found five plastic bags containing suspected cocaine base, commonly called crack cocaine, and suspected cocaine.
The total amount of material weighed about 468 grams, with the packaging, the affidavit said. The material field tested positive as cocaine.
In a separate affidavit, a trooper who is a member of the Narcotics Investigation Unit, also known as the Vermont Drug Task Force, described alleged drug sales to a confidential informant on Aug. 21, 2020, and Sept. 24, 2020 in Rutland.
A third affidavit by a third law-enforcement officer, who is also a member of the Vermont Drug Task Force, describes an alleged sale of cocaine to a confidential informant on Sept. 29, 2020, in Rutland.
In addition to the life imprisonment for which Lawrence could be sentenced if convicted as a habitual offender, the charge of cocaine possession is punishable by up to a year in prison if Lawrence is convicted and the gun possession charge is punishable by up to two years.