BARRE — A Granite City man has admitted to robbing a store and selling drugs.

Dakota Austin, 26, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Washington County criminal court to a felony count of assault and robbery, two felony counts of selling cocaine, a felony count of selling heroin and misdemeanor counts of giving false information to law enforcement and violating conditions of release.

Austin was sentenced to two to six years to serve.

For the assault conviction, Montpelier Police Cpl. Michael B. Philbrick said in his affidavit he received a report in June 2018 about a robber brandishing a knife at Cumberland Farms. Philbrick said he went to the store and a witness told him he was drinking coffee near the counter when a man walked in, pulled out a small knife and demanded money. The witness told Philbrick he then saw the robber run out of the store and drive away.

Philbrick said a store employee reported the robber made off with about $160 to $180.

He said police identified the vehicle the robber used from surveillance footage at surrounding businesses. The owner of the vehicle was contacted by police and reported Austin had access to the vehicle the night of the robbery, according to court records. He said the vehicle’s owner was dating a family member of Austin’s and she had spoken to Austin about the crime and believed Austin was involved.

Philbrick said Austin was arrested for the robbery in November 2018. He said he knocked on the door of the home he believed Austin was staying and Austin answered. On the way back to the police station, he said Austin told him he was actually a family member of Austin’s. Philbrick said he called in other officers who knew Austin from prior encounters and they confirmed he was Dakota Austin. He said Austin then told him he was lying about his identity.

For one of the cocaine selling convictions and the heroin selling conviction, the Vermont Drug Task Force said in an affidavit it began investigating Austin in January 2018 for distribution of crack cocaine and heroin in the county. The task force said it used a cooperating individual to conduct two controlled buys from Austin. The first time, the task force said the individual bought 10 bags of heroin from Austin. The second time, the task force said the individual bought 1.5 grams of crack cocaine off of him.

For the second cocaine selling conviction, Barre City Police Sgt. Steven J. Durgin said in his affidavit the Barre City Street Crimes Unit used its own cooperating individual for another controlled buy in February. This time, Durgin said the individual bought 0.4 grams of crack cocaine from Austin.

Austin was on conditions of release at the time barring him from possessing regulated drugs without a prescription stemming from the prior drug selling charges.

eric.blaisdell @timesargus.com

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