Gun possession leads to detention

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BRATTLEBORO — A Westminster man is being held without bail after he was found to have violated the conditions of his release.

According to documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, Earl Brown, also known as True, was taken into custody on Feb. 15 in Brattleboro on an active arrest warrant.

Brown was spotted at a gas station in Putney by a Vermont State Trooper who stopped Brown's vehicle on Interstate 91 in Brattleboro a short time later. During an interview with detectives, Brown admitted to using and selling both heroin and crack cocaine in the past, but said he had stopped selling those drugs.

When told troopers would be requesting a search warrant of his Deer Run Road residence in Westminster, Brown said he had approximately seven grams of crack cocaine there. During a search of the residence, troopers found drug paraphernalia, a large amount of cash, "and, most significantly, two handguns," stated a memorandum in support of detention. "One handgun — found in the closet of Brown's bedroom in the vicinity of paperwork bearing his name — was loaded. The other gun was found hidden behind a kitchen drawer." However, noted the filing, no crack cocaine was found in the house.

"Brown is a convicted felon and a drug user," stated the memorandum. "He is also a dealer of deadly drugs. As the Court knows, the mix of drug use and trafficking with firearms puts the public at extraordinary risk."

On Nov. 30, 2016, a federal grand jury sitting in Rutland returned an indictment charging Brown with distribution of heroin and cocaine base in Vermont. In a separate indictment issued in January, Brown was named as a member of a conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine. Others named in that indictment included Robull Bryant, of Putney, Jason Bunch, of Brooklyn, N.Y., Elijah Ealey, of Brattleboro, Alfred Spellman, of Putney, Heather Cheeney, of Brattleboro, Jason Robison, of Bellows Falls, and Christopher Shafer, of Brattleboro.

Bryant and Bunch had been under investigation since 2015, suspected of trafficking heroin, powder cocaine, and crack cocaine in Windham County.

They were arrested last year after state troopers responded to gunfire on Hi Lo Biddy Road on Aug. 26, 2016. According to police, Robison shot at Bryant and Spellman who returned fire after arguing over a $30 drug debt. No one was hurt during the incident.

Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 160. Follow him on Twitter @audette.reformer.

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