Craig Wilkins Pleads Not Guilty to Drug and Firearms Charges
RUTLAND, Vt. - The United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Craig Wilkins, 37, of Rutland, pleaded not guilty today in United States District Court in Burlington to charges that he possessed two handguns as a convicted felon and that he possessed fentanyl and cocaine base with intent to distribute them. U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Doyle ordered that Wilkins be held without bail pending trial, which has not been scheduled.
According to court records, on October 31, 2021, Rutland police officers and emergency medical personnel responded to a grocery store parking lot after a citizen reported that two people appeared to be unconscious inside a vehicle. When officers arrived, the two occupants – Craig Wilkins, who was in the driver’s seat, and a female who was in the rear – were conscious but appeared to be under the influence of drugs. Wilkins was asked to step out of the car for questioning and when he did so a round of ammunition fell to his feet. Wilkins is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition because he has prior Vermont felony convictions for distributing narcotics.
Authorities impounded the automobile and obtained a state court warrant to search it. In a backpack, which was on the front passenger seat, and in the glove compartment, officers recovered two handguns, about 177 grams of cocaine base, and about 15 grams of fentanyl. Federal agents obtained a warrant for Wilkins’ arrest on April 12, and a federal grand jury in Burlington indicted Wilkins on the drug and gun charges on April 21.
The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges in the indictment are merely an accusation, and that Wilkins is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.
If convicted, Wilkins faces up to ten years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence would be determined with reference to federal sentencing guidelines.
The case was investigated by the Rutland Police Department and the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Wilkins is represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Steven Barth. The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples.
This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. https:/www.justice.gov/psn