A Milton man convicted of selling fentanyl-laced heroin was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison late last month, court records show.
Jeffrey Drown, now twice convicted for selling narcotics, will also serve six years of supervised release following his prison term, plus pay a $100 fine, the Sept. 20 judgment says. The original charge carried a maximum sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment, up to a lifetime of supervised release and a $2 million fine.
The sentencing follows Drown’s pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in Rutland in May to a charge of possessing fentanyl, a highly potent and deadly opiate, with intent to distribute.
Drown was initially arrested by Milton police last fall following a traffic stop that found him with nearly 900 bags of heroin stashed in a rental vehicle he used to sell his product out of state. Police say Drown’s product – carried in baggies bearing a grim reaper design – was responsible for several near-fatal overdoses in town, including one just over a mile from his home.
Police set their sights on Drown after a confidential informant raised concerns about people using Drown’s product. They initiated a series of controlled drug buys to establish probable cause.
“The stuff [Drown] is giving out to people is killing people,” Milton Detective Nick Hendry told the Milton Independent last year. “That’s why he was a good target, because he was affecting the community directly. People are dying on the side of the street.”
Out on bail last fall, Drown told the Independent he’s fought heroin addiction for a decade and had just gotten into the Berlin methadone clinic three weeks before his arrest. He said he was selling heroin to manage his own $600-a-day habit.
Milton police initially cited Drown with four felonies with a maximum combined sentence of 70 years if convicted. The case went federal when authorities said Drown continued tripping south to obtain drugs to sell at home. At that point, he was ordered held without bail as “there are no conditions of release that will reasonably assure the safety of the community,” the acting U.S. attorney for Vermont wrote at the time.
Federal prosecutors also noted Drown’s former conviction in 2003 for selling heroin, a crime for which he was sentenced to 30 months in jail and three years of supervised release.
Drown will serve out this sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution – Danbury in Connecticut. Within 15 days of release, he must submit to a drug test with “at least two periodic drug tests thereafter” and must also enroll in a substance abuse program, the judgment says.
Drown previously attended detox at the Brattleboro Retreat three times in three years but didn’t participate in follow-up treatment and relapsed. In 2015, he left Serenity House in Wallingford against medical advice, court records show.
In his interview with the Independent last year, Drown spoke candidly on how his addiction had ravaged his life. He said he’d lost his job, friends and family, and addiction made his life a “vicious cycle” of using heroin just to function.
“It’s an awful existence,” he said then. “Every person wishes that they could quit.”