Drug trafficking arrests made in Essex Junction

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BURLINGTON — Five men with ties to Philadelphia were arrested on drug related charges in Chittenden County.

Ronald Harris, aka Rizz, was arrested January 17 following his indictment for a drug conspiracy spanning nearly two years.

Rasheed Stokes-Johnson, aka Slay, Eric J. Weaver, and Shamir W. Elliott were arrested the same day following the search of an Essex Junction, residence believed to be used by the Harris drug distribution organization.

Shannon Studivant-Barnes was arrested the next day for his distributions on behalf of the network.

Harris was arraigned todaya and ordered detained pending trial.

The other four defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearances later today.

The indictment returned by the federal grand jury alleges that Harris and others conspired to distribute fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine base between October 2021 and January 2023.

According to court records, law enforcement officers began investigating the drug trafficking organization in October of 2021.

Throughout the course of the investigation, law enforcement conducted 17 controlled purchases of illegal drugs from members of the organization.

Affidavits filed in this matter allege that members of the organization bring narcotics from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to distribute in Chittenden County, Vermont.

Following Harris’s arrest pursuant to a federal arrest warrant, a search of the vehicle he was driving when arrested yielded approximately $100,000 in cash.

On January 18, law enforcement executed a search warrant at an Essex Junction residence and seized approximately 13,500 bags of suspected fentanyl and approximately 1,300 grams of suspected cocaine base that had been thrown from the window of the apartment.

Stokes-Johnson, Weaver, and Elliott, who were in the area of the residence from which the drugs were thrown, were arrested.

Studivant-Barnes was arrested on January 18 for distributions of heroin and cocaine base in June 2022.

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