Feds: Elderly man had 3.3 pounds of cocaine


Federal authorities say they intercepted an Essex Junction man on U.S. 7 with 3.3 pounds of cocaine as he returned from out-of-state after seeing his drug source.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stopped John Kaye, 70, while driving northbound on U.S. 7 in Shelburne near the town’s police station during the early morning hours of Oct. 16, records show.

Investigators found 1,500 grams of cocaine in the vehicle, which contained only Kaye, a veteran DEA agent reported.

Also seized was about $15,000 in cash and “a notebook that appears to be a ledger reflecting Kaye’s drug distribution activity,” DEA Special Agent Adam Chetwynd said in a sworn affidavit filed  in U.S. District Court.

The DEA had been investigating Kaye for a few weeks and had made at least two undercover purchases of suspected cocaine hydrochloride from him, Chetwynd wrote in his affidavit.

He said the DEA uncovered information that Kaye “would be traveling out of state to acquire new inventory of cocaine for distribution,” Chetwynd said.

Kaye appeared briefly in federal court later that day. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ophardt  did not seek Kaye’s detention pending his trial.

Burlington lawyer Heather Ross, a former assistant U.S. attorney, was initially assigned to defend Kaye at taxpayer expense. Kaye subsequently hired Burlington lawyer Mark Kaplan.

Kaye is scheduled to return to federal court Nov. 4 for a probable cause hearing on the charge. That hearing could be converted to an arraignment if a federal grand jury issues a formal indictment in the interim.

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