MANCHESTER, CONN. >> A former Northampton, Mass., nightclub owner facing drug charges in Connecticut is free on $200,000 bond, while a Vermont man behind the wheel of a borrowed Subaru when the two were arrested on Nov. 18 remains behind bars.
Aaron Kater, of Pelham, an owner of the now-shuttered Hinge restaurant and music venue at 48 Main St., posted bond on Nov. 19 and was released with conditions, while David Loomis, of Halifax, Vt., did not post the $200,000 guarantee and remains incarcerated in Connecticut, court records show.
Kater, 29, is due to reappear in Manchester Superior Court Feb. 11, and Loomis, 30, is scheduled to be back before a judge Feb. 3.
The pair were stopped by Connecticut police sometime after 9:30 a.m. on Wed., Nov. 18 after the two allegedly picked up a package at R & L Carriers, a freight shipping company at 540 Sullivan Ave. in South Windsor. The package shipped from Nevada allegedly contained more than 35 pounds of marijuana in 29 vacuum-sealed bags stuffed into two black "Cantora International" speaker boxes, court documents state.
Also taken into evidence by police were a glass jar containing 1.5 grams of marijuana, a rubber container housing "dabs" or butane honey oil, a glass smoking pipe, a gray "electronic smoking device," and a Garmin GPS.
Police additionally seized the car driven by Loomis, a blue 2008 Subara Outback wagon registered to a Williamsburg woman, identified in court documents as Loomis' girlfriend.
A lawyer for Loomis on Jan. 7 petitioned the court for the car's release, saying the owner had not given permission for its use and did not know it was being used to transport contraband. So far, a judge has not ruled on the motion, and the Subaru remains in police custody. A motion to reduce Loomis' $200,000 bond was denied.
The court docket contains a statement by agent Mark Halibozek, a South Windsor police officer assigned to the East Central narcotics task force. Halibozek said that on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at approximately 9:34 a.m., an agent was dispatched to R&L Carriers at 540 Sullivan Ave. for the report of a suspicious package.
Officers were informed the package was shipped from Nevada and contained two large, "old" speakers found to have an "unusual weight" of over 300 pounds. They were told the customer paid $600 in cash to have the items shipped. Members of the task force, the Department of Homeland Security, and Drug Enforcement Administration verified the package and initiated an operation, wrote Halibozek.
Halibozek in his narrative made reference to an additional police report not contained in the court docket. Manchester police on Monday declined to release a report by officer Bontempo, saying as a matter of policy they don't release documents associated with an open court case.
A lawyer for Loomis has petitioned the court for the release of additional evidence.
Also in the docket on Jan. 11 were letters of support for Loomis. His mother, Karen Loomis, of Leyden, wrote that her son had lifelong mental health issues which rendered him "naive, eager to please, and easily influenced by others." She spoke of his current "loving relationship with a responsible and wonderful woman," and told the court his family would work together to help him put together a successful life plan.
Others described Loomis' talent as a guitar player, and suggested that he was easily taken advantage of. An uncle, Larry Dulong, wrote that "promises of musical success and a new set of PA speakers seem to have led him down a path he probably would not have chosen for himself."
An aunt wrote that David Loomis is a "kind, generous, and loving" person with "no executive functioning" who has "never understood how he found himself in trouble when he had no idea that trouble was ahead."
Kater and Loomis each face charges of possession of marijuana, "sale of certain illegal drugs," and conspiracy to possess cannabis. Loomis is additionally charged with "traveling unreasonably fast" in South Windsor. Prosecutors may elect to bring additional charges, said a court clerk.
The pair denied the charges during their initial Nov. 18 court appearance and again on Jan. 7 after a judge found probable cause to sustain the charges. As a condition of his release, Kater must wear an electronic tracking device and stay away from drugs.