News and Press Releases

Rutland Resident Sentenced to 100 Months Imprisonment for Heroin Distribution and Unlawful Firearm Possession

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2013

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated today that Jewel Hurt, 37, of Rutland was sentenced to 100 months imprisonment by Judge J. Garvan Murtha in United States District Court in Brattleboro. Judge Murtha also sentenced Hurt to three years supervised release.

Hurt was previously indicted on federal charges for participating in a drug distribution conspiracy, distribution of heroin, trading drugs for a firearm, and felon-in-possession of a firearm. In December 2012, Hurt pled guilty to the drug conspiracy and felon-in-possession counts pursuant to a plea agreement where the parties agreed that a 100-month sentence was appropriate. The remaining counts were dismissed. This plea agreement was accepted by Judge Murtha today.

According to the Government, Hurt distributed heroin, crack cocaine, and cocaine powder in the Rutland area for several years ending with his arrest on September 28, 2011. The Government also alleged that in July 2010 Hurt traded crack cocaine to a drug user for the Cobra .380 caliber handgun named in the Indictment. Hurt denied this gun trading charge but pled guilty to possessing this firearm as a felon. On October 28, 2010, that same gun was found in possession of a Lamont James (a.k.a. Supreme) during an armed confrontation with law enforcement at Stewart’s convenience store in Rutland. James was fatally shot at that time by a Vermont State Police Trooper. According to the Government’s sentencing memorandum, James had stolen this gun from Hurt during a home invasion in which James also stole drugs, and money from Hurt.

On July 10, 2011, Hurt was robbed at gun point by a Sean Miller at the Roadway Inn on Woodstock Avenue in Rutland. Miller’s stolen gun was discharged in a scuffle but no-one was injured. Mr. Miller was attempting to steal drugs and money from Hurt. Miller, from Bronx, New York, was prosecuted for felon-in-possession of a firearm and received a 100-month federal sentence.

U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin stated that “this case unfortunately illustrates the dangerous mix of drug dealing and guns. Guns that are traded for guns do not usually end up being used for legitimate lawful purposes. Here, a gun traded for drugs eventually ended up in the hands of a dangerous person who came perilously close to shooting at a law enforcement officer. Another gun, which was stolen, was used by a drug user to rob a drug dealer and it is fortunate that no one was seriously injured during this violent crime. Our office intends to vigorously prosecute these firearm and drug crimes as they put the community at great risk.”

U.S. 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.

This case was investigated jointly by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Vermont State Police Drug Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Perella represents the Government in this matter. Hurt is represented by Frank Twarog, Esq. of Burlington.

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