Homeowner arrested in drug raid last month charged again


BENNINGTON -- A Pageant Street man who was charged in May for allegedly allowing heroin to be sold from his home after police raided it is facing more charges related to drug sales.

Kal-Joe Szabo, 71, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Vermont Superior Court to felony charges of narcotic sale, and heroin possession, and two counts of violating release conditions. Szabo had previously pleaded not guilty to a single misdemeanor count of selling drugs from a dwelling, after which he was released on conditions that he report on a schedule to the Bennington Police Department.

He was released from court Wednesday on $10,000 bail.

According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer Robert Murawski, on Tuesday at 7:54 p.m. he pulled over a vehicle being driven by Gerald Johnson, 30, for having a tail light out. Johnson said he and his wife were coming back from Brattleboro. Murawski said Johnson appeared nervous, and the number of Mountain Dew cans in the car made Murawski suspicious. He asked Johnson for permission to search the vehicle and was told he could.

Before this, both Johnson and his wife denied there being drugs in the vehicle that they were aware of. However, before the car could be searched, Johnson told Murawski he would find 10 bags of heroin, which he did.

He said he got the heroin in Brattleboro and had been sent there by Szabo to get it. For this he was paid two 15 milligram tablets of Percocet by Szabo.

Police then arranged to have Szabo come to the parking lot of Family Dollar on Depot Street where he was arrested.

According to the affidavit, Johnson was cited to appear in court on June 30 to answer charges of heroin possession and sale.

Szabo has no criminal record beyond the charges he has been facing since May. He was arraigned along with Thomas Keith, 41, who was held for lack of $100,000 bail. Police said they found heroin and narcotic pills, along with about $1,000 cash in Szabo's house where Keith was staying. Szabo denied knowing Keith was selling heroin out of the home, but admitted to taking heroin in lieu of cash rent payments and driving Keith to Massachusetts on occasion for purposes unknown.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.


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