RUTLAND, Vt. -- A policeman testified Geraldine Ferraro's son, John Zaccaro, earned the nickname 'the pharmacist' for his alleged cocaine dealing on campus and a college security guard said he heard, 'John was selling to high school kids.'
Those statements, and testimony from another police officer who said she bought a quarter-gram of cocaine from Zaccaro in an undercover sting operation, came during a pretrial hearing Thursday in Vermont District Court.
The hearing was held to consider a defense motion to dismiss drug-dealing charges against Zaccaro, 22, whose mother was the Democratic candidate for vice president in 1984. The hearing was scheduled to resume Monday.
The Middlebury College senior pleaded innocent in February to a charge of possession of cocaine with intent to sell and pleaded innocent last month to a charge of selling cocaine.
Ferraro and her husband, New York realtor John Zaccaro Sr., attended the hearing Thursday.
Police Sgt. David Wemette, who arrested Zaccaro in February, said informants told him Zaccaro had been dubbed 'the pharmacist' at Middlebury College for distributing cocaine to fellow students.
He said Zaccaro had earned the nickname as early as the fall of 1984, when his mother was campaigning on the Democratic ticket headed by Walter Mondale.
Middlebury security guard Theodore Sargent confirmed Wemette's account, testifying he reported Zaccaro to police rather than college officials because 'I had heard that John was selling to high school kids.'
Sargent said he told Wemette, 'Too bad you don't do something about John Zaccaro selling drugs on campus,' and he said the officer replied he would try to arrange an undercover buy from Zaccaro.
But Wemette said no students at the liberal-arts college would agree to go take part in such an operation.
Vermont Police officer Laura Manning testified she went to Zaccaro's apartment near the college in February and told him, 'A couple of friends told me I could buy coke from you.'
She said Zaccaro replied, 'sure,' and sold her a quarter-gram of cocaine for $25.
Zaccaro was arrested Feb. 20 outside a bar after Manning said she bought cocaine from him. Police said a search of his car revealed eight grams of cocaine and records of drug-dealing activities.
Police obtained a warrant for Zaccaro's arrest based on information from a tape recording of the alleged purchase by Manning.
In recent court papers, attorney Thomas Sherer said a Middlebury College security officer unfairly singled out Zaccaro to police. Sherer said the case should be dismissed because it represents 'selective prosecution.'