Stannard Brothers Arrested After Friday Raid On ‘Heroin Highway’

Federal, state and local law enforcement executed a search warrant on this property at 191 Hutchins Farm Road in Stannard on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. (Contributed Photo)

Two brothers are facing federal drug charges after being accused of selling huge amounts of heroin and other drugs from their Stannard home.

Eric N. Colson, III, 23, and Gage E. Colson, 21, were both arrested on drug conspiracy charges after the Vermont Drug Task Force and the FBI raided their home at 191 Hutchins Farm Road in Stannard last week.

The case is supported in federal court documents which include statements from several witnesses familiar with the alleged drug-dealing operation including two former customers.

“Each indicated that they were frequent customers of Eric Colson and would purchase large quantities of prepackaged heroin and cocaine base from him several times a week,” wrote FBI Special Agent Colin M. Simons in his affidavit filed in support of the charges. “(A witness) stated Eric Colson sells $10,000-$20,000 of controlled substances per day, while (The other witness) stated that Eric Colson sells as much as $125,000 of controlled substances every few days.”

Investigators also say Eric Colson liked to mark his product with food coloring and that he would hide his drug supply in a water cooler in the woods at night because he believed that if he was going to ‘get busted’ by police it would be in the early morning hours.

“(A witness) additionally stated that Eric Colson adds food coloring to the cocaine base he manufactures as a means of identifying the product as his,” wrote Agent Simons in his report. “At night Eric Colson would put his drug supply into a 5-gallon water cooler with a screw-on top, which was painted in a ‘camouflage-type’ paint…(The witness) said that the water cooler was then hidden in the woods, and then retrieved again in the morning.”

Police say the Colson brothers’ alleged drug-dealing operation was unique because it operated as a walk-in store and didn’t require customers to set up a special time or location to make drug transactions. That’s according to a confidential informant (CI) working with investigators.

“The CI also explained that it would not be normal to contact either of the Colsons prior to setting up a deal,” wrote Agent Simons. “Instead, customers simply go to the subject premises to purchase narcotics between 10 AM and 10 PM, which the CI indicated were the Colsons’ normal ‘business hours’…The CI also stated that money and drugs are buried in the ground on the property….”

Federal prosecutors are asking the court to hold both men in jail pending trial based on the “substantial quantities” of drugs the Colson brothers are accused of selling. As of Monday, both men were being held in detention at Northeast Correctional Complex in St. Johnsbury.

The Colsons’ residence was raided on Friday morning by The Vermont Drug Task Force, Vermont State Police, the FBI, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations and the Newport Police Department.

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