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Connecticut Man Arrested Near VFW in Alleged Cocaine Trafficking Bust

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Joseph Gardner, 72, was arrested near an area VFW on charges of cocaine possession and cocaine possession with the intent to sell. (credit: Plainfield Police Department)

Joseph Gardner, 72, was arrested near an area VFW on charges of cocaine possession and cocaine possession with the intent to sell. (credit: Plainfield Police Department)

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PLAINFIELD, Conn. (CBS Connecticut) – A Connecticut VFW is at the center of an ongoing narcotics trafficking investigation.

A 72-year-old man was arrested Thursday near the Moosup VFW in Plainfield, Conn., on charges of cocaine possession and cocaine possession with the intent to sell.

Plainfield police seized a substantial amount of cocaine packaged for sale and a quantity of cash from VFW member Joseph Gardner, according to police reports. Thursday’s arrest wasn’t Gardner’s first narcotics run-in with police, having been arrested on narcotics charges in 2008.

Police also arrested 44-year-old Carl Burlock, Jr. Police said Gardner’s arrest is part of an ongoing investigation into narcotics trafficking both in and around the Moosup VFW.

But officials present at the Moosup VFW during the time of the nearby arrests are upset and disappointed that the VFW has been linked by local police and media to the narcotics investigation. Moosup VFW bar manager Reginald F. Gagnon told CBS Connecticut that the men were arrested about a half-mile away and questions why the VFW is being implicated in the case.

“Whoever wrote this report is a prejudiced son of a b—- who is against veterans,” Gagnon said.

Gagnon said he has talked or attempted to talk with Gardner, Burlock, and Burlock’s girlfriend about the incident. They have told him that the incident was nowhere near the VFW, with Gagnon emphasizing that they were arrested maybe “300 yards away” from the veterans’ establishment. He defended his role as bar manager, saying that he does his best to vet out any possible wrongdoing, but can only do so much.

“If I see something going on, I throw them out,” Gagnon said. “But I’m not a cop. I’m not fishing for people.”

Gardner was released on $100,000 bond, while Burlock was released on just $500 bond. Both face Oct. 31 court dates. Though the narcotics investigation is a black eye to the establishment, Gagnon said he’s going to continue to look for answers.

“I called the police department to see what the story was and I got the runaround,” he said. “I’m not very happy. I’m very insulted they would do something like this.”

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