BURLINGTON — A Barre Town man convicted in 2016 of selling cocaine is again facing drug charges.

Ben-Keith Herrera, 31, pleaded not guilty Friday in Chittenden County criminal court in Burlington to a felony count of heroin possession and misdemeanor counts of cocaine possession, narcotic possession, reckless endangerment, negligent operation and two counts of violating conditions of release. If convicted, Herrera faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. He was ordered held at Northeast Correctional Complex in St. Johnsbury on $1,000 bail.

Trooper Andrew Underwood, of the Vermont State Police, said in his affidavit a report came in Thursday regarding someone driving erratically on Interstate 89 southbound in Richmond. Underwood said the vehicle was speeding, driving down the center of the interstate and a passenger appeared to be scared. He pulled the vehicle over in Middlesex.

Underwood said the driver of the vehicle was identified as Herrera. He said Herrera appeared to be under the influence of something and gave police permission to search the vehicle. Underwood said the passenger also allowed police to search her purse where they found a Suboxone strip, which she said Herrera had given her.

Inside the vehicle, Underwood said police found a plastic bag with a white, rock-like substance that appeared to be crack cocaine. Police also found 60 bags of suspected heroin, according to court records.

Underwood said the white rock field tested positive for cocaine and the bags field tested positive for heroin.

In August 2016, Herrera was sentenced to 19 to 20 months to serve on a felony count of selling cocaine and a felony count of cocaine possession.

In that case, police said an investigation into drug activity in Barre Town revealed Herrera was driving to Springfield, Massachusetts, every two or three days to buy drugs and return to Barre Town to sell them.

For the violations of conditions of release Herrera now faces, he was charged last week with a felony count of unlawful trespass into an occupied residence. Police said Herrera and others broke into a Brooklyn Street home in Barre City. He has conditions of release in that case stating he cannot buy, have or use regulated drugs without a prescription and he is to have a 24-hour curfew.

eric.blaisdell @timesargus.com


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