• Local man indicted in marijuana conspiracy
    By Eric Blaisdell
     | April 08,2014
     

    BURLINGTON — A Duxbury man is among four people recently indicted on federal drug trafficking charges stemming from an attempt to bring more than 50 kilograms of marijuana from California to Vermont.

    Trevor Burton, 33, of Duxbury, Eric Durand, 30, of California, and Mark Girardi, 39, of South Hero, were each indicted Thursday on one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, a felony. The fourth person’s name was redacted from the indictment documents, and the U.S. attorney’s office wouldn’t say why the name was being withheld.

    If convicted, each person faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

    Burton, Durand and Girardi are scheduled to be arraigned on the charges Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Burlington.

    According to an affidavit filed by Stephen Holbrook, an agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency, on March 24 state police in Illinois pulled over a Ford F-350 flatbed pulling an 18-foot trailer used for hauling cars.

    Holbrook said the driver admitted marijuana was hidden in a false floor in the trailer. The driver told police the 8˝-by-18-foot floor of the trailer was filled with marijuana bound for Vermont, according to the affidavit. The driver agreed to cooperate with state police and the agency to conduct a controlled delivery of the drugs to Vermont, authorities said.

    When speaking with state police, the driver said he was supposed to call the shipper, referred to as Carl, in California 24 hours before arriving in Vermont. The driver did not call at the appointed time, authorities said, and Carl soon called the driver. During the call, which was monitored by law enforcement, Carl told the driver to call “Dallas” when the driver arrived in Vermont to get instructions on where to take the trailer. Dallas later turned out to be Burton, authorities said.

    Law enforcement then drove the truck and trailer from Illinois to Vermont, along with the driver, according to the affidavit. Holbrook said he met up with the truck in Addison County. The driver called Burton, authorities said, and was told to drop off the trailer in Jericho and meet Burton in Waterbury. The driver told law enforcement that the property in Jericho was owned by an uninvolved and unobservant elderly couple whose property Burton had previously used to store and unload trailers upon delivery of marijuana.

    During these trips, the driver told law enforcement, he would stay with Burton at a house but couldn’t say where the house was since he was always blindfolded before being taken there.

    Law enforcement told the driver to call Burton and tell him he was unable to unhook the trailer so the driver would have to bring the trailer with him to Waterbury. The driver told Burton he would meet him at the Shaw’s in Waterbury.

    Before arriving at Shaw’s, the driver received a call from Burton saying Burton’s girlfriend and another friend in Burton’s car would meet the driver at the supermarket, according to the affidavit.

    Holbrook said the driver pulled into the parking lot and parked next to Burton’s vehicle. After the driver made contact with the two people inside the vehicle, law enforcement agents stepped in and identified themselves.

    The male inside the vehicle was identified as Durand. The female wasn’t named in the affidavit but was identified by the initials K.N.

    Police said the girlfriend initially said she had no idea why she was talking to them but later indicated it probably had something to do with marijuana, because she’d seen many people smoking high-quality marijuana at the house. The girlfriend said she’d been living with Burton for two months but didn’t know his last name or where they lived because Burton would blindfold her anytime she was taken to the house, according to authorities.

    Durand told law enforcement he didn’t know anything about marijuana trafficking and that he was originally from Starksboro. He told law enforcement he was living in California but had flown to Vermont within the past day to visit a friend.

    Durand told law enforcement he had been staying with a friend in Stowe named Ben but that the friend also sometimes went by the name Trevor.

    Law enforcement then had the girlfriend call Burton to say she had been pulled over by Waterbury police for drunken driving and needed Burton to come pick her up. Burton said he couldn’t come get her but agreed to let police drive her home and said he would be waiting at the end of a driveway on Maple Street in Duxbury, according to the affidavit.

    Law enforcement agents arrested Burton at the Maple Street residence. When Burton was being patted down, an empty gun holster was found on his right hip, according to the affidavit. When asked where the gun was, Burton said it was on the couch in the home.

    Burton was taken inside and signed a consent form to allow law enforcement to search the house. The search yielded a small quantity of marijuana and a number of firearms, authorities said. Durand’s boarding pass from his flight to Vermont was also found.

    Law enforcement agents estimated more than 50 kilograms of marijuana was found in the trailer.

    During the search of the trailer, the driver of the truck and trailer was called by Carl, who said he knew about the arrests of Burton and Durand and that he would arrange for someone else to pick up the drugs. The driver then received a call from Girardi, who set up a meeting in the Staples parking lot in South Burlington, according to the affidavit.

    On March 26, the driver took the then-empty trailer to South Burlington to meet with Girardi, whom police arrested.

    Burton, Durand and Girardi were released on conditions.

    eric.blaisdell

    @timesargus.com

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