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Press Release

Recidivist Drug Trafficker Arrested in South Burlington, Vermont

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Vermont

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Marcus Watkins, 35, of Hinesburg, Vermont, was arrested yesterday and charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, a Schedule II controlled substance.  Watkins appeared today by telephone before the Honorable John M. Conroy, United States Magistrate Judge, and was ordered detained pending trial.

According to court records, the Burlington Police Department learned that defendant Watkins was potentially in possession of controlled substances.  Burlington Police coordinated with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Colchester Police Department to conduct a traffic stop of Watkins’ vehicle for a motor vehicle violation in South Burlington.  A search of the vehicle revealed a corner of a small plastic bag containing suspected cocaine base, and two Ziploc bags containing suspected marijuana.  When advised that he would be arrested for possession of cocaine, Watkins stated he would not go back to jail, and attempted to walk away from the officers.  When the officers attempted to arrest him, Watkins resisted.  A search of Watkins incident to arrest resulted in the seizure of approximately $8,610 from the left front pocket of Watkins’ pants.  When Watkins exited the police cruiser at the Burlington Police Department, another knotted corner of a plastic bag fell from his person onto the floor.  Watkins reacted by trying to step on the bag and grind it into the floor.  Officers then looked into the rear of the police cruiser, and noted numerous knotted bag corners on the seat and floor of the police cruiser where Watkins had been seated.  Some of the baggies had been ripped open, leaving loose pieces of cocaine base scattered around the back seat of the vehicle.  Additional cocaine base was recovered from Watkins’ underwear at the Burlington Police Department.  After booking, Watkins was transported to the Northwest Correctional Facility for lodging.  During an entry search, corrections officers discovered Watkins possessed an additional quantity of cocaine base.  In total, Watkins possessed approximately 12 grams of cocaine base.

Watkins has a lengthy criminal record that includes four prior felony drug convictions.  Watkins was last released from the Federal Bureau of Prisons on September 12, 2019, after having served a 36-month sentence for possession with intent to distribute heroin.  At the time of his most recent arrest, Watkins was serving a term of federal supervised release.

If convicted, Watkins faces a maximum of twenty years of imprisonment.  The actual sentence however, would be determined by the Court with guidance from the advisory Federal Sentencing Guidelines.  The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges in the complaint are merely accusations, and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.

United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan commended the investigative efforts of the Burlington Police Department, the Colchester Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. 

The United States is represented in this matter by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ophardt.  Defendant Watkins is represented by the Office of the Federal Public Defender.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at

Updated May 26, 2020

Drug Trafficking