Bristol couple charged under ‘crack house’ law
BRISTOL — Federal and state law enforcement authorities are investigating two Bristol residents’ involvement in alleged heroin trafficking, kidnapping and assault.
The investigation and federal charges against Corrin Laraway, 22, and Justin Stone, 24, follow a 911 call this past Saturday morning from a man who had apparently been storing drugs at their apartment and whom first responders found in the pre-dawn hours injured by the side of Notch Road in Lincoln.
Laraway and Stone were arraigned in U.S. District Court in Burlington late Monday afternoon on charges of knowingly and intentionally making their apartment available for use as a place to store and distribute heroin. U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont Eric Miller explained to the Independent that the two are being prosecuted under the federal “crack house” statute.
According to a statement that FBI Special Agent Christopher Destito filed with the court Monday morning, Stone and Laraway allowed a man they named only as “John” to store and distribute heroin from their apartment at 51 Woodland Drive in Bristol. Somewhere around 2 a.m. on Saturday, the two drove “John” up Notch Road and dumped him out, somewhere on the Lincoln side, Destito wrote.
As detailed in the court document, a neighbor called the Vermont State Police shortly before 2 a.m. and reported hearing “the sound of fighting” in Laraway and Stone’s apartment, Apartment 1, and also informed the VSP that Laraway and Stone “had just returned to their apartment.” State police arrived and observed wounds on Stone’s face. But Stone and Laraway both said that he had merely slipped in the shower and that they’d just returned from Porter Hospital, where they had gone to get treatment for the mishap. They told police that they were going to one of their mother’s residences.
Shortly before 3 a.m., emergency dispatchers received a 911 call from someone who said that a friend who’d been staying at 51 Woodland Drive had been shot, and gave the dispatcher the friend’s phone number. Soon thereafter a man called 911 to say he’d been stabbed and kidnapped. The man’s cell phone number was the same as that provided to 911, and the 911 dispatcher identified the injured man’s location as Notch Road in Lincoln.
State police officers returned to the 51 Woodland Drive apartment building and found blood on the stairs leading to Apartment 1 and blood on the Apartment 1 doormat. No one was home. Concerned that an injured person might be inside the apartment, officers forced entry. While inside the apartment, the troopers observed baggies of heroin, needles, firearms, more blood and overturned furniture. Officers then obtained a search warrant.
At roughly the same time, first responders from the Bristol Rescue Squad and the Lincoln Fire Department found a man later identified as “Cody Toledo” on the side of Notch Road. Toledo was injured, said the statement, but neither “shot nor stabbed.”
Destito said that authorities did not at this point know Stone’s and Laraway’s role in Toledo’s injuries, but that was being investigated.
The Burlington Free Press reported that Toledo was treated at UVM Medical Center and released on Sunday morning. U.S. Attorney Miller did not say if Toledo would be charged with any crimes stemming from this incident.
Shortly before 6 a.m., Colchester police apprehended Stone and Laraway at a Motel 6 in Colchester. Law enforcement also found several thousand dollars in cash and a “golf ball-sized quantity of heroin” in Stone and Laraway’s room in the Motel 6, according to the FBI agent’s affidavit.
Stone and Laraway were interrogated separately and, according to Destito’s affidavit, they admitted that a man they referred to as “John” had been living in their apartment “for at least the previous month” and had used the apartment to store and distribute heroin.
Miller said that the VSP will lead the ongoing investigation and that the case will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Burlington.
Miller also said that the weekend’s investigation and arrest owed much to the efforts of the Addison County State’s Attorney’s Office.
“Addison County State’s Attorney David Fenster was intimately involved with the investigation and the decision-making with respect to the investigation over the weekend and provided absolutely crucial prosecutorial assistance as they were seeking warrants,” Miller said. “David and I spoke over the weekend and together decided that at this time it made the most sense to charge these two people under the federal crack house statute. So it was a joint decision to prosecute it federally because of the intersection with narcotics and the heroin initiative that our office is engaged in right now.”
Miller emphasizes that the case represents the kind of cross-agency collaboration needed to combat heroin abuse and trafficking statewide.
“Drug-related violence is extraordinarily troubling to all of us,” said Miller. “In this instance, I think we can be particularly proud of the good and really fast work that a coalition of state, federal and local law enforcement agencies did in order to effectuate these arrests and the charges being brought in federal court.”
Miller continued, “This is a good example of how we will only make progress against every aspect of this epidemic, this problem, when we work together across jurisdictional lines that have sometimes in the past divided our efforts. Heroin addiction doesn’t respect any typical boundaries. It doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, urban or rural, black or white. And as a result, if we’re going to effectively respond to it, we too need to work across jurisdictions, across boundaries, across divides.”
If convicted of the “crack house” charges, Stone and Laraway each face a maximum possible penalty of up to 20 years in jail and a $500,000 fine.
Reporter Gaen Murphree is at email@example.com.
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