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Court Records Indicate Former Royalton Police Officer to Plead Guilty in Drug Case

  • Royalton Police Officer John Breault works in a space in the town office building on Dec. 5, 2011, on the same floor shared with other town entities. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Correspondent
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Burlington — Former Royalton police officer John Breault, who authorities say stole multiple drugs out of the police evidence room over the summer, has agreed to plead guilty to felony distribution of heroin, according to federal court records.

“John has accepted responsibility since Day 1,” his defense lawyer, Robert Katims, said in a Wednesday phone interview. “He is prepared to face the court.”

Breault, 31, has signed a six-page plea agreement that was filed on Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Burlington.

He is due to formally plead guilty at a court hearing on March 9 in Burlington before Federal Judge Christina Reiss, records show.

Breault faces up to 20 years in prison followed by at least three years of supervised release. He also could be fined up to $1 million.

There is no indication in the signed plea agreement what the two sides plan to argue for as an appropriate penalty under the federal sentencing guidelines. Breault, who served as a police officer for about nine years, has a clean record.

Under the plea agreement, the U.S. government agrees to recommend Breault receive a two-point credit for acceptance of responsibility under the guidelines as long as he is truthful while the U.S. Probation Office prepares a presentence investigation, including about his own conduct during the crime.

The court had ordered the defense to file pretrial motions by today, but the plea agreement landed in the Clerk’s Office on Wednesday.

A federal grand jury indicted Breault in October on three felony charges in connection with drugs reportedly taken from the Royalton Police Department’s evidence locker. Also stolen were narcotics deposited in the station’s drug take-back box, which permits people to surrender medications no longer needed, court records show.

Breault, a Randolph resident, was charged with two counts of heroin distribution on July 14 and the weekend of July 22-23, and one count of marijuana distribution on July 8.

The original criminal complaint alleged Breault gave the heroin to an opioid user with whom he had a sexual relationship and originally had met while they were in high school. Her name was not given in court records.

Breault appeared briefly on Sept. 22 in federal court in Burlington for an initial hearing; afterward, Katims told reporters that Breault did not use drugs and was not peddling them on the street.

“The allegation is that he had a serious lapse of judgment and that he helped out a friend, who was a drug addict,” Katims said after that hearing.

The case began to unfold in September when that female friend began speaking with the FBI and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, court records show. The woman said she had stopped using drugs in late August.