Crime

Drug sales, gun charges dropped against St. J. store owner

VT Dept. of Liquor Control photo

Hallucinogens possession charge remains

by Guy Page

A St. Johnsbury store owner arrested for selling drugs to minors saw those charges dropped in Vermont Superior Court Monday, October 24. However, a misdemeanor charge of possession of hallucinogens remains, the Caledonian-Record reported today.

Barry McKee, owner of the Best Buds Smoke Shop, was looking at 20-year stretch in prison before Judge Justin Jiron dismissed charges brought by state liquor control agents. In a high profile October 9 arrest, following a six month investigation culminating in a Sept. 23 search of his store, McKee was charged was charged with Possession of Hallucinogenic Drugs; Selling or dispensing Hallucinogenic Drugs; Selling or dispensing to minors; selling on school grounds; and possessing firearms after conviction of violent crime.

The drug sale charges, which investigators say were based on complaints from nearby residents, were dismissed by the judge for lacking probable cause. And the firearms charge was dismissed because McKee had yet to be convicted of a violent crime offense in Georgia – only offered a plea deal on a violent crime charge, his lawyer said.

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