BRATTLEBORO -- Police arrested a New Jersey man on Friday for allegedly trafficking heroin in and out of Vermont.
Eugene Paul Williams-Rice, 32, of Freehold, N.J., was held on lack of $50,000 bail and lodged in the Southern State Correctional Facility where he's awaiting his arraignment scheduled for this afternoon.
Williams-Rice was arrested after police found more than an ounce of heroin hidden in his vehicle.
Vermont State Police Senior Trooper Matthew Studin told the Reformer he was on patrol along I-91 in the southbound lane near Dummerston on Sept. 21. He was performing a motor vehicle stop with an unidentified motorist when he saw a 2007 Jeep Cherokee Laredo with New Jersey plates pass by.
Once he was done with the motor vehicle stop and drove back onto the highway the same Jeep Cherokee Laredo, driven by Williams-Rice was in front of him.
Studin said he noticed the New Jersey registration was expired and after activating his lights, Williams-Rice pulled his vehicle over.
Williams-Rice allegedly was smoking marijuana as the officer approached his vehicle and the trooper also reported his driver's license had been suspended.
Eventually Williams-Rice consented to a search of his vehicle and one of the troopers discovered the vehicle's plastic dashboard had been pulled apart recently.
Looking inside, Studin said there was a total of 510 bags of heroin, weighing approximately 16 grams,
Police also found a half-ounce of marijuana and $2,445 in cash.
Studin said the drugs were hidden in a cloth bag tucked behind the steering wheel and dashboard, but what worried him the most was that Williams-Rice was driving southbound.
"It makes you wonder how much heroin he had with him on the trip up," Studin said. "He said he's been traveling to Vermont since 2006."
Studin said that although Williams-Rice was forthcoming about the drugs he had inside his vehicle once the police found them, he wouldn't give any information about prior trips, who he may have been supplying the drugs to or where he was getting them from.
There was evidence inside the vehicle that suggested Williams-Rice's most recent trip, which could have been as long as a week, brought him to Barre, Montpelier, South Burlington and Rutland.
"He's been bringing a lot of heroin into the state of Vermont for a long time," Studin said. "If he was heading back to New Jersey with more than a half-ounce with him, if that was what was left after selling for a week, one can imagine he's been bringing several ounces with him at a time to sell in various locations throughout the state."
Unless Williams-Rice was able to post bail, he's scheduled to appear in Windham County Superior Court Criminal Division today, Studin said. Otherwise, if bail is posted, he's been cited to appear on Oct. 23, to answer the charges.