BURLINGTON, Vt. - A former Royalton police officer made his initial appearance in federal court Friday, facing a drug charge. Federal authorities say John Breault distributed drugs, including heroin.
Court paperwork show those drugs came from the department's evidence locker.
Breault was serving as Royalton's top cop when federal authorities say he gave heroin and others drugs to a woman believed to be his girlfriend.
"The allegation is that he had a serious lapse of judgement and that he helped out a friend," said Robert Katims, Breault's attorney.
The small town of Royalton was rattled last week when the longtime police officer resigned from the force after nine years, citing personal resons.
One day later the FBI and DEA raided the department's evidence locker. Court paperwork shows agents focused on a paper bag. Inside should have been 78 bags of heroin and pills seized by Breault in June, but investigators say the bag was empty.
Katims said, "John doesn't use drugs, he wasn't peddling drugs on the streets."
The paperwork also shows the 31 year-old took money out of his ATM on a few occasions so the woman could buy heroin.
Through a public records reques, Local 22 & Local 44 News obtained a copy of Breault's training and employment history from the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council. Records show Breault failed his written entrance exam in December 2007, then passed it in January 2008.
It also shows Breault worked as a part-time deputy for the Orange County Sherriff's Office for about a year and a half until he was fired in 2011. Sherriff Bill Bohnyak tells us Breault had no credibility after two restraining orders were filed against him in New Hampshire.
Earlier this week, Royalton selectboard chair Larry Trottier told us he and colleagues were shocked when the FBI arrived.
Trottier said, "Who ever expected something like this, we're a small community and everybody knows eachother, we've got a law school and everything goes a long pretty smooth."
Breault was released on his own recognizance Friday and was ordered to refrain from possessing a firearm.
Katims said, "John has resigned from the police department and he understands that there will be othe consequences and we are here today to begin that process."
The town of Royalton has expanded it's search for a new officer and chief.
Breault is due back in court on October 13th for a probable cause hearing.
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