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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Vermont

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 21, 2018

Two Bennington County Men Charged with Cocaine and Cocaine Base Distribution

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that James O’Dell, 54, and Robin Buell, 50, both of Bennington County, VT appeared today in United States District Court in Burlington, following their arrests for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base.

According to court documents, the Vermont Drug Task Force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted an investigation into the distribution of cocaine and cocaine base in the Bennington, Vermont area.  During the investigation, O’Dell was identified as a significant source of cocaine in the Bennington, Vermont area. On four separate occasions, O’Dell delivered cocaine to Robin Buell, who sold the cocaine to a Vermont Drug Task Force informant.

On September 13, 2018, the Vermont Drug Task Force and the FBI arrested O’Dell and executed a federal search warrant at O’Dell’s Bennington home.  In O’Dell’s home, law enforcement found approximately 360 grams of cocaine base, 386 grams of cocaine and 4 lbs. 6.5 oz. of marijuana. The total street value of the cocaine found in O'Dell's residence is $74,600. A search of one of O’Dell’s vehicles yielded a total of $24,961.00 in cash.

O’Dell appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy on September 14, 2018 on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending further proceedings in the case. On September 18, 2018, O’Dell was released on pre-trial conditions that include, but are not limited to, surrendering his passport, drug testing, and reporting regularly to pretrial services.

On September 17, 2018, Robin Buell was arrested at his home in Bennington. Buell appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy on September 18, 2018 and was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.  On September 19, 2018, Buell was released on pre-trial conditions that include, but are not limited to, drug testing and reporting regularly to pretrial services.

United States Attorney Christina Nolan stated:  “This case is an outstanding example of how Vermont law enforcement officers at the federal, state, local, and county level come together to root out dangerous drug trafficking from our communities.  Law enforcement at all levels understand that there is suffering in every corner of our state and we will continue to collaborate and deploy resources accordingly. Because of this extraordinary team effort, two drug dealers are out of business, nearly $75,000 in addiction-based profit has been cut short, and Bennington County is safer.” 

“These arrests demonstrate our overall strategy and relentless determination to eradicate drugs in our community,” said James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigations. “We are proud to work side by side with the Vermont State Police, Bennington Police, and the U.S. Attorney's Office to bring these individuals to justice.”

The charges against O’Dell and Buell are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty.

In addition to the Vermont Drug Task Force and the FBI, members from the Vermont State Police-Shaftsbury, Bennington Police Department, and the Bennington County Sheriff's Department assisted with the arrest and search warrant.  The Bennington County State’s Attorney’s Office also provided valuable assistance.

O’Dell is represented by David L. McColgin.  Buell is represented by Karen R. Shingler.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew C. Gilman represents the United States.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated September 21, 2018