Hinesburg woman remains jailed awaiting federal drug trial

A federal judge has ruled a Hinesburg woman will remain in prison while awaiting trial on heroin and cocaine charges.

Brandy LaRock, 33, admitted she had taken heroin while on release and also had been arrested for driving while under the influence with an alcohol level of .151 percent, Chief Federal Judge Christina Reiss said.

LaRock and her defense lawyer Tom Sherrer of Shelburne did try to dispute three positive drug tests for cocaine that the U.S. Probation Office also had reported, but Reiss said between the heroin use and the DUI arrest that was enough to end LaRock’s freedom.

The judge ruled at the end of the hearing last Thursday that “by clear and convincing evidence” she could not find any combination of conditions that would allow for LaRock’s release and still protect the public. She also questioned LaRock’s credibility on the witness stand.

Reiss also noted another federal judge had given LaRock a break when there was an earlier report of drug use in June, about two months after the defendant had been released from prison to go to a drug treatment center.

She ruled LaRock has a history of alcohol or substance abuse and had participated in criminal activity while under supervision of the court.

LaRock had testified that she believed the positive traces of cocaine came from some residue that she said she must have touched when cleaning her trailer in an effort to sell it around July 1.  She said her house was full of needles, bags and other drug paraphernalia

Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy Fuller questioned a federal probation officer about the three sweat patches that tested positive for cocaine during three weeks in late June and into mid-July.

Sherrer, while cross-examining the probation officer, attempted to show studies have indicated the patches can be faulty.  He also had maintained LaRock had been assaulted once and could have been given drugs against her knowledge when knocked out.

LaRock has denied the federal charges of possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine and with conspiracy to distribute both drugs. LaRock was jailed for about a month after her March arrest, but later allowed to go to Valley Vista, a drug treatment center.

She was arrested after she made three drug sales to an undercover informant at or near her home between Jan. 22 and Feb. 23, the Vermont Drug Task Force said.

Police said they also arrested her out-of-state drug source on March 2.  Deshawn “Biggie” Livingston, 42, of New York City, was found at her trailer, police said.  He was carrying 16 grams of heroin and 59 grams of cocaine in plastic bags and another two grams of crack cocaine in his right front pants pocket, court records show.

Police also said they found 50 bags of heroin inside LaRock’s residence when they conducted a court-ordered search.

“LaRock advised that ‘Biggie’ had given her some of the heroin that morning, which she had used prior to driving her children to daycare,” an undercover officer said in court papers. “LaRock acknowledged that she was a regular user of heroin and is also in a methadone program.”

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