A Mount Holly man could be sentenced to up to 60 years in jail after being arraigned on Monday on charges of trafficking cocaine and fentanyl in October. Craig Wilkins, 37, was ordered held on $10,000 bail on Monday in Bennington criminal court after pleading not guilty to one felony count of trafficking fentanyl, one felony count of trafficking crack cocaine and one misdemeanor count of possessing a firearm after being convicted of a violent crime.

Wilkins was arraigned remotely in Bennington county, but the charge was brought by the Rutland County state’s attorney’s office and the case will be prosecuted in Rutland County.

Judge Cortland Corsones set bail at $10,000. On Tuesday, Wilkins had not posted bail and was being held in the Rutland jail according to the online offender locator maintained by the Vermont Department of Corrections.

The charges against Wilkins are based on an affidavit written by Cpl. Richard Caravaggio, of the Rutland City Police Department, who said police and medical personnel responded to a call around 2:45 p.m. Oct. 31 of a man who appeared to be “passed out” in a Ford Explorer parked in the parking lot of the Rutland Shopping Plaza.

Caravaggio said emergency medical technicians at the scene said they believed the two people in the car, later identified as Craig and Alicia Wilkins, were “on something.”

Caravaggio said he recognized the two from prior law enforcement encounters.

During the incident, Caravaggio said he learned there was an active warrant for Alicia Wilkins’ arrest and that Crag Wilkins was under a court order not to have contact with Alicia Wilkins. Craig Wilkins was also subject to an order to observe a 24-hour curfew at his home in Belmont.

Caravaggio said he told Craig Wilkins to step out of the Explorer so he could take him into custody for violating the court orders when he saw Wilkins place two pills in his mouth. Caravaggio said he ordered Wilkins to spit them out and Wilkins complied but said he also found a round of 9 millimeter ammunition on the ground.

While Caravaggio said he didn’t see the round falling to the ground, he said the EMTs at the scene told him the round was not there until Wilkins got out of the sport utility vehicle.

Caravaggio said his experience in law enforcement indicated it was unlikely that a person has a round of ammunition unless they also have a gun. He said he also believed that Wilkins would be prohibited from owning a gun because of his criminal history.

Caravaggio said he could not examine the pills Wilkins allegedly put in his mouth because it was raining Oct. 31 and the pills dissolved in the water.

The affidavit said Caravaggio asked Wilkins if he could search the Explorer and Wilkins declined. The SUV was seized instead and searched on Nov. 3 after police obtained a search warrant.

Caravaggio said the search recovered 177 grams of crack cocaine and three baggies of fentanyl, weighing a total of 15 grams, along with an unloaded Zastava M57 7.62x25 firearm and a 9mm Taurus firearm which allegedly had a round in the chamber.

Caravaggio said the round found on the ground outside the Explorer on Oct. 31 was consistent with ammunition that would have been used in the Taurus.

At the time the affidavit, which was dated Feb. 10, was written, officers with the Rutland City Police Department as well as federal agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had been unable to locate Wilkins.

An arrest warrant was issued on Feb. 16, but it was not immediately clear how Wilkins had been taken into custody prior to his arraignment on Monday.

Alicia Wilkins, 37, was also arraigned on Monday after she allegedly failed to appear in Rutland criminal court on three separate matters in 2021. Alicia Wilkins, who was also arraigned in Bennington County, was released but a $500 unsecured appearance bond was ordered.

Craig Wilkins could be sentenced to up to 30 years in jail if convicted of either of the trafficking charges. If convicted of the charge of illegally possessing a gun, Wilkins could be sentenced to up to two years in jail.

According to Caravaggio’s affidavit, the felony convictions, which bar Wilkins from possessing a gun, are related to selling heroin.

patrick.mcardle

@rutlandherald.com

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