BURLINGTON —Michael Wood, 45, and Steven Arnold, 20, both of Hancock, pled not guilty in United States District Court on Tuesday to an indictment charging conspiracy to manufacture and distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine. United States Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy ordered Wood detained pending trial and scheduled a detention hearing on Feb. 28 for Arnold.
According to court documents, Wood and Arnold manufactured and distributed methamphetamine at their shared residence in Hancock during the fall of 2012. Court documents further allege that the Vermont Drug Task Force (VDTF) made controlled purchases of methamphetamine from each of the men at the residence during November, 2012.
The VDTF executed a search warrant at the residence on Nov. 20, seizing evidence of methamphetamine production. Wood and Arnold were arrested on that date and charged initially in Addison County Superior Court by the Vermont Attorney General’s Office. The state charges were dismissed after a federal grand jury returned the indictment. Wood and Arnold have been detained since their arrests. If convicted, Wood and Arnold face between 5 and 40 years imprisonment.
In a separate matter, Leslie Eramo, 21, formerly of Hancock, pled not guilty today in United States District Court to an indictment charging conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine during the fall 2012. Eramo was released on conditions. If convicted, Eramo faces up to 20 years imprisonment.
The Office of the United States Attorney for then District of Vermont emphasized that the charges contained in the indictments are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
United States Attorney Tristram J. Coffin commended the investigations into methamphetamine production by the VDTF and thanked the Vermont Attorney General’s Office for its assistance and cooperation. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Nolan of the U.S. Attorney’s Rutland Branch Office.