Police: Mass. man had 240 bags of heroin
Dean A. Carbone 44, of Springfield, Mass. was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by his teenage son, according to police.
Carbone pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Bennington criminal court on Monday to a felony count of possessing heroin.
Superior Court Judge David A. Howard reserved finding probable cause on three additional charges: Prosecutors had charged Carbone with single felony counts of trafficking heroin transported into the state and heroin sale, and a misdemeanor count of contributing to delinquency. The state is expected to file additional information this week.
Police were conducting surveillance on Saturday morning at the parking lot of Stewart's Shops at 636 Main St., where Bennington officers "are aware of criminal activity" taking place, according to a court affidavit. A detective saw a man enter and shortly after exit a 2006 Toyota SUV with a Massachusetts license plate, and suspected a drug deal. The SUV was pulled over a short time later on School Street after an officer saw its rear third brake light wasn't functioning properly.
The driver was a 17-year-old boy with a Massachusetts junior operator license; Carbone was the passenger; police said.
The teen told police that he and Carbone, who he identified as his father, came from Springfield, Mass. to go shopping in Bennington and that his father doesn't have a license. Police noted the teen was "breathing heavily, his chest moving up and down rapidly, gave limited eye contact," noting it was "sign of deceptive behavior and being overly nervous." The driver said "he had no drugs on him and there were none in the car that he was aware of," the affidavit states.
Carbone told officers they going shopping and "began to ramble about Christmas gifts." An officer noticed a phone lying in the center console with a School Street address where he knew drug activity takes place.
When told a detective had watched him in the Stewart's parking lot, "Carbone said that he did not sell drugs because his son was with him" before he "finally admitted there was heroin in his jacket pocket." Carbone consented to a search; police found four small packages wrapped with blue paper in his jacket, a total of 240 bags of heroin.
The stamp on the bags of heroin have been found at the scene of several recent overdoses, according to police.
Deputy State's Attorney Alexander Burke asked Judge Howard to set bail at $100,000.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Rubin, representing Carbone, asked for $5,000 bail, citing Carbone's lack of a criminal record. Rubin said there was no indication the minor was involved.
Howard continued the $25,000 bail set after Carbone's arrest. Howard said the defense's request was too low given the maximum penalties of the felony charges under review: The trafficking charge carries a maximum penalty of 40 years and the heroin sale, 20 years.
Howard, referring to the court affidavit, said there wasn't any indication in the affidavit about what Carbone said when, in an interview at the police department, spoke about "his involvement with the sale of heroin in Vermont."
"If there were admissions by Carbone in that conversation, it would help the court decide probable cause," Howard said. He asked the state to file more information by Thursday.
Ed Damon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @edamon_banner on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 111.
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