Rockingham man pleads not guilty to drug charges

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BRATTLEBORO — A Rockingham man pleaded not guilty Monday to heroin trafficking and possession of cocaine.

Matthew D. Dunn, 34, was arraigned in Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division, on those charges after being arrested by the Bellows Falls Police Department on Friday. A confidential source told police that Dunn was buying heroin in Brattleboro every other day, then selling the drug in Bellows Falls.

Police said they stopped Dunn on Friday and he admitted to selling drugs. Dunn was searched and police found 200 bags of heroin weighing about 5.28 grams altogether, according to an affidavit. Also found was a small sandwich bag containing about half a gram of cocaine.

For heroin possession to turn into a trafficking charge, the weight of the drugs found has to exceed 3.5 grams.

Dunn's stepmother, who was in court on Monday, offered to allow Dunn to stay with her.

"I believe she will be the first to call the police," said Joanne Baltz, defense attorney.

Judge Katherine Hayes recommended that Dunn apply to participate in the Windham County Sheriff's Office electronic monitoring program and she reduced the bail originally set at $10,000 down to $5,000.

"It does appear Mr. Dunn does have very substantial ties," Hayes said. "He's been living in Vermont since at least 2002. He does have local family, which is good. I don't see employment."

Hayes said the evidence was pretty strong against Dunn but he appeared to be compliant and cooperative with the police.

"All of these events, even including the alleged obtaining of the substances, occurred in Vermont so there's no connection out of state alleged here, which is unusual for a case with this level of number of items we're talking about," Hayes said. "It's just unusual. I don't know ... And [Dunn] doesn't appear to be suffering in terms of his health at the moment, which is also a little unusual and not necessarily in his favor."

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or @CMaysBR.

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