Accused Drug Dealer in Rutland Is Focus of Sex Trafficking Investigation | Off Message

Accused Drug Dealer in Rutland Is Focus of Sex Trafficking Investigation

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
  • U.S. Department of Justice
An accused drug trafficker in Rutland doled out punishment by smacking people with a handgun and may have forced addicted women into prostitution, according to a document filed in federal court on Wednesday.

A federal grand jury had indicted Lawrence Jackson, 50, on several drug charges late last month. He’s also accused of being a felon in possession of a firearm, specifically a revolver dubbed by its manufacturer as The Judge and described in a court document as “a particularly effective and dangerous weapon” that fires both .45-caliber bullets and .410-gauge shotgun shells.

The document describes Jackson as an “extremely violent person causing significant recent harm in the Rutland community.” Jackson used the weapon at least three times to pistol-whip people and also to threaten a woman he thought had stolen drugs from him, the document states. Witnesses also told the feds that Jackson had raped and sexually assaulted multiple women, and held down one woman and burned her skin with a butane torch.



Jackson was arrested on November 23 after federal, state and local law enforcement officials raided his Killington Avenue apartment. Though he wasn’t there at the time, Jackson was stopped in his car shortly after the authorities searched his home. Inside the vehicle, cops found $2,000 in cash, nearly 500 grams of cocaine, scales and other drug paraphernalia, the court records say. The loaded revolver was allegedly found inside Jackson’s bedroom.

At the time, Jackson was awaiting sentencing on a conviction for drug possession in the Bronx, N.Y. He’s been held in Vermont without bail.
Lawrence Jackson - VERMONT STATE POLICE
  • Vermont State Police
  • Lawrence Jackson

In Wednesday’s filing, federal prosecutors argued that Jackson, who has a criminal record dating to 1989, should be held until he goes to trial. The sex trafficking and sexual assault allegations remain under investigation.

The allegations share some similarities to those levied against Brian Folks, who was convicted in May 2019 of coercing drug-addicted women into prostitution. Folks is serving a 22-year prison sentence. His was the first federal human-trafficking case in Vermont to go before a jury.

Seven Days wrote about the case against Folks in "Trafficked: How the Opioid Epidemic Drives Sexual Exploitation in Vermont," part of the 2019 series, Hooked, that explored lives ravaged by drugs.

And in October, Vermont State Police announced another sex-trafficking investigation after a search warrant at two apartments in Rutland turned up “a padlocked apartment door and multiple chain-link storage areas."