A West Pawlet man, who recently moved to Alaska, has pleaded not guilty in federal court in Anchorage to 6 felony charges that he made long-distance death threats and stalked a bunch of Vermonters.

Brian C. Tarbell, 34, now of Kasilof, Alaska, denied during a brief hearing Wednesday afternoon the five counts of interstate threatening communications and one charge of cyberstalking the Vermonters in August and September.

Chief Federal Magistrate Judge Matthew M. Scoble agreed to keep Tarbell behind bars pending the outcome of the criminal case. He has been held since Sept. 10 when the FBI arrested Tarbell as he prepared to board a flight at Kenai Municipal Airport that was expected to eventually deliver him the next day to Burlington.

Scoble set a tentative trial date for Dec. 8 in Anchorage. That is subject to delays for motions and other legal proceedings under the Federal Speedy Trial Act.

Tarbell did not appear personally in federal court due to COVID-19 restrictions, but phoned into the brief hearing to plead not guilty.

Authorities have said they found a rifle, two handguns, ammunition, two knives and a tactical vest as Tarbell attempted to check his luggage at the airport.

Tarbell has been involved in a bitter divorce proceeding with his estranged wife in Vermont. At least one issue reached the Vermont Supreme Court, which issued an order earlier this year.

Tarbell moved out of Vermont in April and made it to Alaska and threats later began to surface, officials said. Vermont State Police started to investigate the case, but later punted it to the FBI.

The threats escalated in a violent tone as weeks went on, according to FBI Special Agent Wendy Terry, who is assigned to the bureau’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Alaska. The task force investigates both international terrorist organizations and homegrown violent extremists, Terry said.

The threats and comments were directed at various relatives, including his parents and his brother, records show.

Tarbell also made two phone calls to the Massachusetts State Police during the early morning hours of Sept. 1 and pledged to blow up the barracks to kill everybody, the indictment said.

Tarbell claimed the Green Mountain Boys of the Air National Guard would drop the bombs on the unspecified state police barracks, but there is no known evidence he ever belonged to the Vermont guard. Tarbell never served in either the air or army national guard in Vermont, a guard spokesman has said.

Tarbell also claimed he had been a Marine, but that could not be verified.

The victims are not named in the federal indictment and no initials are provided. Three threats were sent by text messages, one was by Instagram and one by cellphone, according to the indictment.

The cyberstalking charge maintains Tarbell, between Aug. 4 and Sept. 10, primarily targeted victim 1 by harassing or intimidating her by using the mail, any interactive computer service or electronic communication service. The felony charge notes Tarbell repeatedly sent text messages to victim 1, while using texts, Instagram or phone calls for victims 2-5 and others.

During the initial hearing after Tarbell’s arrest, Scoble ruled the defendant was both a risk to flee and a danger to himself and the community. Scoble ruled the weight of the evidence is strong and noted Tarbell has a history of violence or the use of weapons.

“Defendant arrested while traveling to Vermont in possession of weapons,” Scoble wrote on the detention form ordering Tarbell held at the Anchorage Jail.

During some of the texts, Tarbell made reference to trying to reclaim “6891.” Public records show he once lived at 6891 Vermont Route 30 in West Pawlet.

“I will reside at 6891. It’s my home,” he said in another message. It is unclear who lives there now.


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