Barre Man Sentenced to 85 Months in Federal Prison for Gun and Drug Crimes
Burlington, VT – The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont, stated that on October 22, 2012, Terry Bahner, 28, of Barre, Vermont, was sentenced to 85 months in prison for his participation in cocaine distribution and the trafficking of firearms. Chief United States District Judge Christina Reiss, sitting in Rutland, also ordered Bahner to serve a term of three years of supervised release following his prison sentence.
Terry Bahner, Bethany Pastuszak, Bahner's wife, Lestly Westcott, Bahner's stepfather, and Ronald Newton were charged with various drug and gun crimes in a 14-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on May 25, 2011. Pastuszak, 33, and Westcott, 48 are both from Barre. Newton, 24, is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
According to court records, Bahner and Newton conspired to sell cocaine from Bahner's Barre residence between April and May of 2011. With Bahner's assistance, Newton would obtain cocaine from sources in Philadelphia and then traffic it to Barre for re-sale.
Bahner was also actively involved in the trafficking of firearms in Barre. Between August 2010 and April of 2011, Bahner sold, or brokered the sale of, 8 firearms to a confidential informant working with law enforcement and an undercover law enforcement officer. These firearms included a shotgun, six handguns, and an M&P 15 semi-automatic assault rifle.
On May 14, 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, together with other law enforcement agencies, executed a search warrant at Bahner's residence in Barre, which he shared with Pastuszak and his young child. There law enforcement found Newton in an upstairs bedroom. In a drawer near his bed, they recovered a quantity of cocaine packaged for distribution and a loaded .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun. Newton is a convicted felon and was therefore prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms. Further investigation revealed that Pastuszak had purchased the handgun for Newton at a local gun store.
Bahner was the fourth defendant in this case to be sentenced. On August 8, 2012, Judge Reiss sentenced Ronald Newton to 160 months in federal prison for his role in the cocaine conspiracy and his possession of a handgun in furtherance of that conspiracy. Newton was also ordered to serve 10 years of supervised release following his prison term. Newton's criminal record includes felony convictions in Pennsylvania for aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy to commit murder. These convictions arose from two drive-by shootings in Philadelphia which occurred in 2004 and 2006 and which resulted in multiple people being injured. Newton was on probation for these crimes in the spring of 2011 when he moved to Vermont, armed himself with a handgun, and began distributing cocaine with Bahner.
Bethany Pastuszak pled guilty to making a false statement in connection with her purchase of the handgun for Newton. On January 5, 2012, Judge Reiss sentenced Pastuszak to four months of imprisonment and four months of home confinement, followed by a one-year term of supervised release.
Lestly Westcott pled guilty to one count of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon and one count of distributing controlled substances. On September 19, 2012, Judge Reiss sentenced Westcott to serve 30 months in federal prison, followed by a three-year term of supervised release. According to court records, Westcott sold a firearm and prescription pills to a confidential informant working with law enforcement. He also assisted Bahner and Newton by driving them from Barre to Philadelphia so that the men could obtain quantities of cocaine for re-sale in Barre. Westcott's criminal record includes a 1980 felony conviction in Connecticut for burglary and a 1981 felony conviction in Connecticut for larceny.
United States Attorney Tristram J. Coffin commended the efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, the Barre City Police Department, the Montpelier Police Department, the Vermont State Police, the U.S. Marshals, and the U.S. Border Patrol for their hard work and coordinated efforts on this investigation. The prosecutor is Assistant United States Attorney Timothy C. Doherty, Jr. Newton is represented by Natasha Sen. Bahner is represented by Elizabeth Mann. Westcott is represented by Karen Shingler and Pastuszak is represented by Robert Sussman.
United States Attorney Coffin noted that this prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice's Project Safe Neighborhood, a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in America. Led by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Project Safe Neighborhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who violate federal gun laws. For more information about Project Safe Neighborhood and Project Safe Vermont, please visit: www.psn.gov.