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Traffic stop nets heroin haul; officer assaulted, gives chase

GREENFIELD — A Vermont man faces heroin charges after allegedly striking a police officer and fleeing from an interstate traffic stop.

Joel R. Gouin, 28, of Washington, Vt., pleaded innocent to possession of heroin to distribute, assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and traffic violations Friday in Greenfield District Court.

Gouin fled from the stop and ditched 110 bags of heroin, which were later recovered, according to a report by trooper Charles Murphy.

Gouin was arrested after police pulled him over on Interstate 91 in Deerfield for changing lanes without signaling, and having a broken taillight and dirty license plate, Murphy wrote.

Murphy pulled Gouin over near Exit 24 on Interstate 91 northbound shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday.

When he approached the car, Murphy noticed a large fixed-blade “ka-bar”-style knife unsheathed on the passenger’s seat and noticed that the driver was nervous, shaking, pale and sweating, Murphy wrote.

Murphy’s suspicions were heightened when the driver told him that he was coming from Hartford, Conn., where he had dropped off a friend. Murphy wrote that Hartford is frequented by people from Vermont and New Hampshire seeking to buy drugs and resell them in their home states at an inflated price.

Due to Gouin’s nervousness, the weapon, and Murphy’s suspicions of drug activity, he ordered the driver out of the vehicle.

After frisking Gouin, Murphy learned that he did not have a valid license, and told him he was being placed under arrest, he wrote.

Gouin swung an elbow at Murphy as he tried to handcuff him, knocking the trooper back, then ran into the woodline, Murphy wrote. The trooper chased him to a chain link fence, which the driver scaled before tossing the drugs, Murphy wrote. The trooper called state and Deerfield police to assist.

While awaiting backup, Murphy pulled his cruiser onto Old State Road, and saw a witness who told him Gouin ran across Tri-Town Pond. Deerfield police later glimpsed the suspect in the area of the railroad tracks and a state police dog was brought in.

After a lengthy pursuit, troopers from the Northwestern District Anti-Crime Task Force apprehended Gouin in a field across the street from the Whately library, wrote Murphy.

Murphy caught up with him there, as other officers retraced Gouin’s steps and found the drugs near the highway, he wrote.

As he overheard a trooper tell Murphy they recovered 10 bundles of heroin, Gouin corrected him, and said there were 11 bundles, or 110 bags, wrote Murphy.

Ten bundles of bags were labeled “impact,” while the other bundle was labeled “after party,” according to the report. When he was shown the drugs, Gouin admitted ownership, according to Murphy.

Gouin told police that he fled because he is on furlough from a Vermont corrections sentence, and is not supposed to leave that state, and also had an active warrant for a 2005 larceny in Massachusetts, Murphy wrote.

You can reach David Rainville at: drainville@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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