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Bristol teen faces drug charges

BRISTOL — A Bristol 17-year-old pleaded innocent in Addison County Superior Court on Monday to charges of delivering drugs to minors and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Zachariah Rusk is being tried as an adult and faces charges of up to 15 years in prison for the first charge and up to two years in prison plus a fine of $2,000 for the second charge. He is represented by Peter Langrock of Langrock, Sperry & Wool in Middlebury.
Rusk was arrested this past Saturday night by Bristol police after the Bristol Rescue Squad had been dispatched to attend to a 13-year-old female who was having a “medical reaction following the consumption of marijuana,” according to an affidavit signed by Bristol police Officer Josh Otey.
The girl was reportedly having difficulty breathing and standing up and was hallucinating and feeling dizzy. Another 13-year-old told police that he, the girl, and two other minors (all between the ages of 12 and 15) had purchased marijuana from Rusk for $20. The male minor also told police that Rusk had provided a gravity bong and used it to smoke marijuana with them in the baseball field section of the recreation field. Rusk reportedly left the scene when the 13-year-old girl began having a bad reaction and emergency services were contacted.
According to his affidavit, Otey responded to the scene and found a cell phone on the ground at the dugout, examined it, and observed text messages from a contact labeled “Zach Rusk” at a specific telephone number. One message instructed the female minor to go to the dugout.
After Otey obtained a search warrant from Judge Helen Toor, Bristol police, along with assistance from the Vergennes and Middlebury police, located Rusk at his family’s Pleasant Street residence and searched his room. They seized what Otey said were parts of the gravity bong, which later tested positive for marijuana use.
Police also found numerous plastic baggies with marijuana residue and other paraphernalia around the room, according to the affidavit, as well as an Apple iPod with a text messaging application, Pinger, that matched the messages received on the cell phone found earlier at the dugout. Officers took Rusk to the Bristol Police Department for processing.
According to Otey’s affidavit, Rusk claimed the gravity bong had been constructed at the dugout and that parts of it belonged to the other minors. Photographs of a gravity bong on Rusk’s iPod taken May 8 depict what officers believed to be the same device, already constructed, causing police to believe Rusk’s statement was partially false or not truthful.
Rusk was previously issued a no-trespass order in July 2012 after staff at The Hub teen center suspected him of selling drugs to minors. Rusk was arrested on April 4 of this year for violating that trespass notice after Hub staff observed him on the property engaging in a hand-to-hand transaction that they believed to be a drug deal.
Rusk is next scheduled to appear in court on June 24.

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