Heroin case goes federal

Jeffrey Drown (MPD photo)

Jeff Drown, the Milton man found with nearly 900 bags of heroin on his person in September, is now facing federal drug charges, court documents show.

Milton police arrested 36-year-old Drown on September 30 in a uniquely homegrown investigation, local authorities told the Independent. After a series of controlled buys, police arrested Drown for possessing, selling, transporting and trafficking heroin, four felonies punishable with a combined 70 years in prison.

In November, a federal grand jury indicted Drown on five charges, including that Drown knowingly sold heroin laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opiate up to 100 times stronger than morphine, court documents show.

In an interview with the Indy in mid-October, Drown denied ever selling fentanyl. But Milton police said Drown’s product – some of it labeled with a grim reaper – was responsible for several near-fatal overdoses in town. One user required two doses of opioid-reversal drug naloxone to be revived, they said.

After pleading not guilty to the charges in state superior court, Drown made bail and was released on conditions, prompting many concerned calls to the PD, police said. Now in federal jurisdiction, however, Drown was ordered imprisoned, court documents show.

In a motion for detention, acting U.S. Attorney for Vermont Eugenia Cowles argued “there are no conditions of release that will reasonably assure the safety of the community.”

She cited Drown’s criminal history, including a 2003 federal conviction for selling heroin during which he violated his conditions and served a year and a day in prison, the motion says. The U.S. argued Drown continued his drug trade even after being arrested in September.

A federal judge granted the motion on November 14, noting Drown hadn’t made a sufficient rebuttal to the government’s arguments and also citing his history of crime and drug abuse.

Drown told the Independent he’s used heroin for at least a decade and had been making daily trips to Berlin’s methadone clinic, a spot for which he’d been angling for six months before his arrest. He finally got in three weeks prior, he said last month.

The state of Vermont’s inmate locator shows Drown is currently held at Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans.

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