Gill resident faces slew of drug trafficking charges

Staff Writer
Published: 1/12/2022 3:53:38 PM
Modified: 1/12/2022 3:52:46 PM

GREENFIELD — Gill resident Rufus Thomas, 40, is facing charges in both Greenfield District Court and Franklin County Superior Court resulting from his alleged trafficking of various drugs, including about 730 bags of fentanyl.

Thomas, who had a warrant out for his arrest following an investigation into drug trafficking charges from July 2021, was arrested Jan. 6, at around 10:42 p.m. during a traffic stop near Subway on Avenue A in Turners Falls, according to the Montague police logs. Thomas was the passenger in a vehicle whose driver ran a stop sign.

According to a police report from Montague Police Detective Jacob Lapean, who is also a member of the Anti-Crime Task Force of the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, the task force had been conducting surveillance of locations Thomas was known to be associated with. Upon encountering Thomas in the traffic stop, police ordered him to exit the vehicle and he was arrested for his active warrants. The report states Thomas resisted arrest by making quick movements and refusing to show his hands before attempting to break free from his handcuffs and flee on foot.

After being taken into custody, Anti-Crime Task Force investigators “observed an empty/used wax baggie that was entirely consistent with the common packaging of heroin/fentanyl,” according to Lapean’s report. Further searching discovered approximately 730 bags of fentanyl, 11.3 grams of cocaine, a digital scale and $2,004.73.

Thomas was taken to the Montague Police Station where he was held without the right to bail before being transported to the Franklin County Jail and House of Correction in Greenfield.

In addition to the active warrants stemming from July, Thomas is being charged with trafficking in more than 10 grams of fentanyl, possession with intent to distribute a Class B substance (subsequent offense) and resisting arrest. On Monday, he was arraigned in Greenfield District Court for the new charges and in Franklin County Superior Court for July’s charges, pleading not guilty. According to court records, Thomas faces a bail hearing on Jan. 24, at 2 p.m. before a pretrial conference Feb. 7.

Also seated in the vehicle involved in the traffic stop was Dylan Butynski, 22, of Turners Falls, who had an active warrant on charges for unarmed robbery and assault and battery on a person over 60. He pleaded not guilty and faces a pretrial conference March 8.

According to Laurie Loisel, director of communication and outreach for the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, Thomas has a lengthy history of legal issues, including “many active issues in court.” Police and court logs show charges including drug offenses, vehicle violations, and assault and battery across Montague and Greenfield.

The July 2021 warrant, specifically, stems from a police investigation into a case in Gill in which Thomas was one of two individuals shot at by resident Wesley Johnson following a physical altercation, according to Loisel. Johnson’s defense attorney, Alfred Chamberland, has previously said in court that the fight started when Thomas — who was staying at Johnson’s residence — refused Johnson’s demands to leave his property due to suspicion of dealing drugs. Chamberland said large amounts of drugs were later found in a nearby cabin.

As a result, Thomas was indicted by the Franklin County Grand Jury, with the warrant issued for charges including trafficking in 18 to 36 grams of cocaine; trafficking in 36 to 100 grams of heroin, opium or morphine; possession with intent to distribute a Class E substance (cocaine); conspiracy to violate the Controlled Substances Act; possession of a large-capacity feeding device; and a firearm violation with three prior violent crimes or serious drug offenses.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


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