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Phillip Braun, 30, a local bodybuilder, pleaded not guilty at state Superior Court Wednesday to various drug charges, including conspiracy to possess marijuana, possession of narcotics and three counts of illegal sale of prescription drugs

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Phillip Braun, 30, a local bodybuilder, pleaded not guilty at state Superior Court Wednesday to various drug charges, including conspiracy to possess marijuana, possession of narcotics and three counts of illegal sale of prescription drugs, court documents show. Judge Susan Q. Cobb set his next court date for May 6 during the brief hearing.

Braun's attorney, Eugene Riccio, of Greenwich, said he was not in a position to have a substantive conversation about his client's prospects as "we're still in a preliminary stage in this matter."

He declined to comment further on the case.

Police say Braun is a known associate of Mark Mansa, the Bethel man accused of heading a multifaceted criminal enterprise -- with ties to the Hells Angels and the Bonanno crime family -- which was the subject of a five-year investigation by local authorities and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

Mansa and his associates, investigators say, peddled marijuana and illegal steroids to a local clientele.

Braun wrote in a 2007 blog post that Mansa was "one of my best friends."

The bodybuilder was arrested March 28, when investigators swarmed his Pembroke Avenue condo, police said, and discovered a cache of drugs and steroids. Authorities said they found the testosterone, Deca-Durabolin, Halotestin and Proviron, and the prescription painkiller Percocet -- all in plain sight.

The warrant they were serving apparently stemmed from a September marijuana possession charge, according to court documents, though the arrest warrant affidavit has been sealed.

While there is no indication he was involved in the sale of drugs Braun's connection to Mansa has brought attention to his case.

Mansa is one of four men indicted last month on federal conspiracy charges.

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A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty

A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty

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