$100K bail for drug trafficking suspect

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BENNINGTON — A judge has upheld high bail for a 26-year-old Massachusetts man accused of trafficking more than $14,000 worth of heroin and crack cocaine into the state.

Bennington police allegedly recovered the drugs in July 2016 after stopping a car being driven by Henry M. Clinton-Aimable, of Springfield. He was later extradited to Vermont on an arrest warrant and ordered held on $150,000 bail, with a $15,000 deposit, after denying the charges at his arraignment in May.

Judge David A. Howard agreed this week to a small reduction in bail; the $100,000 secured surety bond was significantly less what the defendant's attorney sought.

Howard wrote in a decision Wednesday that significant bail is necessary to ensure Clinton-Aimable's appearance at future court dates, noting his lack of ties to Vermont, a pending drug case in Massachusetts, and that the weight of evidence appears to be great. Howard did agree to modify his release conditions: If Clinton-Aimable posts 10 percent, he would reside at a Rutland City address and be on a curfew.

Clinton-Aimable pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court Bennington Criminal Division on May 26 to single felony counts of trafficking heroin and crack cocaine.

A Bennington police detective stopped a 2016 Ford Fusion on the afternoon of July 29, 2016 after the driver did not use a turn signal when turning into a parking lot, according to a court affidavit. The car's Indiana registration had expired several months prior and was for a white 2015 Kia sedan.

Officers learned the driver, identified as Clinton-Aimable, had rented the car on July 6 and it was due back Aug. 4, according to the affidavit, which notes it was "personalized" with rosary beads, aerosol cans and other items.

Clinton-Aimable allegedly told police he was going to Albany Medical Center to visit his sister, who he said was involved in car crash a week earlier in Pittsfield, Mass. He said he had come from Pittsfield to get a tablet computer for his sister and was in Bennington to see a girl.

Police ordered Clinton-Aimable out of the vehicle due to the odor of marijuana and "his nervous behavior," according to the affidavit, which states he had trouble speaking and making eye contact with police. He allegedly admitted he was smoking a cigarette to mask the odor. A bag he allegedly turned over to police contained 4.5 grams of marijuana.

Clinton-Aimable was released from the scene. Officers were ultimately granted a warrant to search the car.

A black sock hidden in the trunk contained three bags of crack cocaine, weighing 69 grams, according to the affidavit. A fourth bag contained 11.5 grams of heroin, or 365 single doses. The street value of the crack was about $6,900 and the heroin, about $7,300, police said.

Clinton-Aimable's attorney, Jeffrey Rubin, argued during a bail review hearing Monday that the defendant doesn't pose a risk of non-appearance in court. He said Clinton-Aimable has difficulty in posting the high bail and can only post up to $3,000.

Deputy State's Attorney Robert Plunkett argued Clinton-Aimable would be a flight risk, noting law enforcement unsuccessfully tried to contact him to make him return to Vermont to face the charges. He was ultimately arrested in May on a warrant that was issued last September. Plunkett also cited Clinton-Aimable's criminal history. He was convicted in 2012 for breaking and entering, larceny from a building, and possessing cocaine with intent to distribute, according to court documents.

Clinton-Aimable is scheduled to return to court for a pretrial conference on Dec. 11.

Reach staff writer Edward Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111 or @edamon_banner.

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