News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Announces Initiative to Address Firearm and Drug Crime in Washington County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2012

Burlington, VT – In a press conference on December 19, 2012 in Montpelier, Tristram J. Coffin, United States Attorney for the District of Vermont, spoke about a recent initiative of federal, state, and local authorities to combat gun and drug crime in Washington County, Vermont. For approximately the last eighteen months, the United States Attorney's Office, in conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Vermont State Police, Barre City Police Department, Barre Town Police Department, and the Montpelier Police Department have undertaken efforts to aggressively prosecute individuals involved with the trafficking of drugs and the use of firearms in connection with drug dealing.

The participants in this initiative convened this press conference to mark the conclusion of the prosecution of the individuals that were involved in the November 6, 2011 shooting on Baldwin Street in Montpelier. On December 19, 2012, Leonard Touzin was sentenced to nine years on federal firearms and drug offenses. Several weeks earlier, co-defendant Jaimour Anderson was sentenced to over eleven years in federal prison on gun and drug charges. Both men were involved in a crack cocaine conspiracy involving the transportation of drugs from Springfield, Massachusetts to Washington County, Vermont, and the use of firearms in connection with drug distribution in the Barre region.

In addition, this initiative has resulted in the conviction of fourteen defendants and the seizure of approximately 26 firearms and ammunition, including a sawed-off shotgun and an assault rifle. The following is a representative list of the cases prosecuted and the results of those prosecutions:

· Michael J. Morin

- convicted of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime
-sentenced to 60 months

· Galveston "Rocky" Witherspoon

-convicted of possession of firearm in furtherance of a drug crime
- sentenced to 60 months

· Dean Brower

-convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm
-sentenced to 22 months

· Tyson Lissor

- convicted of possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number
- sentenced to 9 months

· James Beatrice

-convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm
- sentenced to 33 months

· Ronald Newton

-convicted of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime
- sentenced to 160 months

· Terry Bahner

-convicted of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and illegal possession of firearms
-sentenced to 85 months

· Lestly Westcott

-convicted of distribution of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of firearm
-sentenced to 30 months

· Bethany Pastuszak

-convicted of making a false statement in connection with the purchase of a firearm
-sentenced to 4 months in prison and 4 months home detention

· Mark Barter

- convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.
- sentenced to 3 years in prison.
· Jason Johnson

- convicted of unlawful possession of firearms
- sentenced to 3 years in prison.

· Brian Robinson

- convicted of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and felon in possession of a firearm.
- sentenced to 5 years and 10 months

The United States Attorney noted that this initiative is ongoing and represents the continued commitment of federal, state, and local law enforcement to vigorously prosecute firearms and drug offenses in Washington County, Vermont. The above cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy C. Doherty, Jr. And Kevin J. Doyle.

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