Bryan A. Wright

Bryan A. Wright

A South Burlington man is back behind bars because federal officials say he violated his court-imposed conditions of release after he was arrested on a felony charge of illegal possession of 18 firearms while being an unlawful user and addicted to controlled substances.

Winooski Police said it seized crack cocaine from Bryan A. Wright, 51, during a traffic stop on April 16, eight days after he was freed from federal court on conditions, including he refrain from the unlawful use or possession of drugs, court records show.

Federal officials arrested Wright about noon Monday when he arrived for unknown reasons at U.S. District Courthouse in Burlington.

Burlington defense lawyer Mark D. Oettinger said there was some question as to who owned the crack cocaine, which was found inside a newly purchased car. He said Vermont Superior Court Judge Marty Maley had agreed to release Wright on conditions the day after his arrest on a state charge for drug possession.  

However federal officials appeared to be less forgiving. During a brief hearing late Monday, Federal Judge Christina Reiss ordered Wright detained by the U.S. Marshals Service until the issues and drug test results could be sorted out.

Winooski Police said two white chunky rocks were found on the floor board on the passenger side, where Wright was seated, while a third rock was seized from the glove compartment, court records show. The rocks later field tested positive for cocaine, Winooski Police said.

Earlier this month Wright denied the single felony charge of illegal possession of 18 firearms while being an unlawful user and addicted to controlled substances.

The federal indictment stems from a court-ordered raid at his apartment at 225 Airport Parkway on Feb. 11, records show. South Burlington Police, assisted by the Vermont Drug Task Force, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives participated in the raid.

Also seized were suspected drugs, including more than 30 grams of possible fentanyl, more than 785 grams of marijuana, nine Oxycodone pills, two Diazepam, and also some possible crack cocaine and cocaine, records show. There also was drug paraphernalia impounded.

A bullet proof vest with an FBI patch also was seized, records indicate.  The guns included an AR-style rifle and four 12-gauge shotguns and assorted ammunition.

Wright also is facing state charges that he sold heroin and cocaine and possessed marijuana, Assistant U.S. Attorney Spencer Willig wrote in the latest detention motion filed by the government.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office initially requested Wright be detained April 3 following his arrest. Willig had indicated the government was concerned Wright might not avoid narcotics and firearms, if released. Five days later the government withdrew the detention request following a Pre-Trial Services Officer report and representations from the defense lawyer about Wright’s proposed housing and drug treatment arrangements.

Federal Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy had agreed Wright could live with Kirk Little at 77 Bear Trap Road in Milton. That is where much of Wright’s personal property was held by Little as a landlord, court records show.

Winooski Police identified Little, 40, as the driver of a tan Ford Taurus that was pulled over about 11:55 p.m. April 16.

Officer Michael McCormack, in a court affidavit, reported he was monitoring traffic on Main Street when he spotted a car with no front license plate – a violation of Vermont law. As he followed the car northbound a check showed the rear license plate was assigned to a different make, color and model car.

McCormack said he eventually used blue lights to get the driver, Little, to stop on the on-ramp of Interstate 89 near exit 16. He said he was aware of Wright, a front seat passenger, because of past encounters with law enforcement and he “had a significant history that involves illegal drug possession and sales.”

Wright said he had just bought the car and it still had a registration plate from the previous owner and there was no insurance, McCormack said. Little and Wright both consented to have the car searched, records show.

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