News and Press Releases

13 Indicted for Methamphetamine Crimes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2012

Burlington, VT – The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that a federal grand jury sitting in Burlington returned a second superseding indictment on April 4, 2012, charging 13 Northeast Kingdom residents for the following methamphetamine-related crimes:

Count 1 charges Carl Dewayne Coker, Charles Thomas Amerine III, Mandy Darlene Johnson, Frank Santaw, and Kevin Dodge with conspiring to manufacture 5 grams or more of methamphetamine from Spring 2011 to November 2011.

Count 2 charges Frank Santaw and Kevin Dodge with conspiring to manufacture 5 grams or more of methamphetamine from September 2011 to December 2011.

Count 3 charges Alicia Ovitt, Joshua Ovitt, and James Castrogiovanni with conspiring together and with Coker, Amerine, Johnson, Santaw, and Dodge to possess and distribute pseudoephedrine, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that it would be used to manufacture methamphetamine, from Spring 2011 to November 2011.

Count 4 charges James Castrogiovanni, Honey Lee Lacourse, Roger Chaffee, Cheryl Hackett, Richard Lavoie, and Jaime Cross with conspiring together and with Santaw and Dodge to possess and distribute pseudoephedrine, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that it would be used to manufacture methamphetamine, from September 2011 to in or about December 2011.

Coker, Amerine, and Johnson, all formerly of Island Pond, were arrested on November 18, 2011. Coker is detained pending trial. Santaw and Dodge, both of Island Pond, were arrested on December 16, 2011. Santaw is detained pending trial. The other eight defendants were arrested on April 17, 2012. Cross, Chaffee, and Lavoie are detained temporarily pending hearings scheduled for April 19, 2012.

United States Attorney Tristram J. Coffin emphasizes that the charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, defendants charged in Count 1 or 2 face imprisonment for a term between 5 and 40 years and defendants charged in Count 3 or 4 face imprisonment for a term up to 20 years. Actual sentences in the event of conviction would be determined pursuant to the advisory federal sentencing guidelines and the federal statutory sentencing factors.

The investigation of these crimes was led by the Vermont Drug Task Force with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Vermont State Police Field Force Division, the United States Marshals Service, and the Brighton Police Department assisted in the arrests of defendants. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Nolan.

United States Attorney Tristram J. Coffin commended the law enforcement agencies for their investigation of this matter. He added, "Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and harmful drug. Illicit production of the drug involves highly dangerous processes and toxic waste that can cause severe injuries. The United States Attorney's Office will continue to work closely with state and federal law enforcement to investigate and prosecute the unlawful production and distribution of methamphetamine and the unlawful possession of pseudoephedrine for the purpose of making methamphetamine."

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