BURLINGTON — A federal judge has ordered a Rutland City man jailed on various drug charges following a raid at his East Center Street apartment.
Jonathon R. Gallagher, 38, pleaded not guilty in federal court in Burlington on Friday to a four-count indictment that was filed as part of an ongoing investigation by the Vermont Drug Task Force and an FBI Task Force into drug trafficking in Rutland County.
The indictment returned March 27 by a federal grand jury in Rutland was unsealed Friday after drug investigators used a search warrant to enter the first-floor apartment in a red house at 30 East Center Street near East Street, court records show. They said Gallagher shares the apartment with his live-in girlfriend.
Gallagher is charged with knowingly and intentionally possessing heroin with intent to distribute it on Jan. 19, 2017, the indictment said. It was part of a traffic stop by state police.
He also is charged with three counts of knowingly and intentionally distributing drugs: heroin on Nov. 15 and Nov. 29, 2018, and fentanyl on Jan. 24.
Court papers do not disclose the amount of drugs obtained in each sale or how much was paid for each transaction.
The search warrant notes another sale of heroin was set up for Tuesday at the apartment, but the product tested positive for fentanyl and heroin, court records show. They indicate a different confidential informant used for that sale reported Gallagher was selling heroin and crack cocaine from his residence.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Perella said in court papers on Friday that Gallagher, after his arrest about 8 a.m. Friday, “admitted to having a serious drug problem, is currently using heroin and cocaine base and used as recently as last night.”
He added, “The defendant also admitted to selling enough drugs to support his personal use.”
Perella also said law enforcement found a box with almost 100 rounds of .223 rifle ammunition in a kitchen cabinet and about 50 rounds of 9mm ammunition in a small safe. Gallagher is prohibited from possessing any ammunition due to a 2013 state felony drug conviction, records show.
He noted Gallagher is currently on pre-trial release from state court on drug charges.
Perella asked the court to detain Gallagher as both a danger to the community and a risk to flee. Perella said there were no known conditions that could ensure Gallagher’s appearance.
Defense lawyer Robert Katims said he would not fight the detention request immediately, but left the door open to come back to seek a release that would include a drug rehab facility.
Judge Christina Reiss said that based on several factors, including Gallagher’s serious drug problem, she agreed to hold him.
Katims asked for 90 days for him to get all the evidence from the government about the controlled buys, phone recordings and reports.
Reiss said set a July 18 deadline for pre-trial motions and ordered deputy marshals to detain him.
Gallagher is known to police for various contacts through the years, including a traffic stop that netted almost 1,350 bags of heroin on Jan. 19, 2017, on Route 7 in Mount Tabor near Danby, Vermont State Police said. That state case has been rolled into the new indictment, records show.
Gallagher was a passenger in the car and had a plastic shopping bag between his feet that contained 951 bags of heroin, FBI Agent Colin Simons said in court papers. Another 20 bags of heroin were found on Gallagher, Simons wrote.
Trooper Cody Sholtes stopped a northbound 2004 Buick Century for a speeding violation about 1 p.m. He indicated in a state court affidavit he had been notified the car was coming from Massachusetts and possibly carried narcotics.
Police say they found 1,347 bags of heroin weighing about 1.2 ounces after both men consented to a search of themselves and the car, records show.
Sholtes said the drugs came from Holyoke, Massachusetts, a major distribution location. Along with the heroin, officers said they found multiple cellphones, syringes, Q-tips and other items which suggested the men were users and had intent to sell, records show.
Gallagher and the driver, Scott Racine, then 42 of Middlebury, were arrested on state charges of trafficking and importation of heroin, police said. They later pleaded not guilty to the state charges.
Detectives determined last year that Gallagher may have been involved in other drug activities and began another investigation, court records indicate.