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Press Release

16 Individuals Charged or Arrested For Drug Trafficking Crimes as Part of Joint Law Enforcement Effort

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Vermont

On April 16, 2019, the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional law enforcement effort that focused on drug trafficking in the area of Brattleboro, Vermont.  During the three-day operation conducted last week by federal, state, local, and county officers, and federal and state prosecutors, law enforcement arrested or charged 16 individuals, searched 3 residences and 1 hotel room, and seized approximately 1,000 bags of heroin and 70 grams of cocaine base.  Twelve individuals have been charged in federal court with participating in drug trafficking crimes.  Two have been charged in state court with drug possession crimes.

Those charged in federal court include:

  • Curtis Bunkley, 29, of Brattleboro, charged with distribution of cocaine base, distribution of fentanyl, and possession with intent to distribute heroin.
  • Sarah Cassell, 32, of Brattleboro, charged with distribution of heroin and cocaine base.
  • Arthur Fisk, 28, of Brattleboro, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base.
  • Daniel DeThomas, 37, of Hartford, Connecticut, charged with distribution of cocaine base.
  • Luis Duprey, 24, of Holyoke, Massachusetts, charged with using a communication facility to facilitate the commission of a drug felony arising from his attempt to distribute 500 bags of heroin.
  • Rachael Gauthier, 49, of Brattleboro, charged with distribution of heroin and fentanyl.
  • Rory Jackson, 35, of Queens, New York, charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine base.
  • Holly Magnuson, 25, of Brattleboro, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base.
  • Robert Newton, 49, of Brattleboro, charged with distribution of heroin.
  • Jocelyn Pond, 29, of Brattleboro, charged with distribution of fentanyl.
  • Justine Pond, 29, of Brattleboro, charged with distribution of fentanyl.
  • Jaylen Pryor, 18, of Brattleboro, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base.

Those charged in state court include:

  • Corey Archer, 38, of Brattleboro, Vermont, charged with cocaine possession.
  • Lee Griffin, 36, of Brattleboro, Vermont, charged with cocaine possession.

Defendants Cassell and Newton are currently fugitives.  All other defendants were arrested during the operation.

The charges against the defendants are only allegations.  The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This operation stemmed from careful planning and collaboration by Vermont law enforcement at all levels.  The enforcement surge involved the participation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Department of Homeland Security - Homeland Security Investigations; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the United States Marshals Service; the Brattleboro Police Department; the Vermont Drug Task Force; the Vermont State Police; CBP Air/Marine Unit; and New Hampshire Drug Task Force.  Crucial support was provided by the Office of the Windham County State’s Attorney; the Vermont Attorney General’s Office; and the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. 

United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan stated:  “Vermont lost 110 lives to drug overdose death last year, and the County with the most of those deaths was Windham County.  This is an unacceptable tragedy.   There is suffering from the drug crisis in every corner of Vermont, not least of all Brattleboro, in light of its geographic proximity to dealers based in the Springfield, Massachusetts area.  This coordinated operation exemplifies the teamwork of Vermont law enforcement and our collective determination to deter and bring consequences to local and out-of-state dealers who ravage our communities.  We will continue to surge federal, state, local, and county enforcement resources across the state to bring justice to those who profit from death and immense suffering.  I commend this outstanding collaborative effort involving so many agencies and prosecutors’ offices.”

“Fentanyl and heroin abuse are at epidemic levels in Vermont and across the North East,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle.  “DEA is committed to aggressively pursuing Drug Trafficking Organizations or individuals who are coming from out of state to distribute these poisons, in order to profit and destroy people’s lives.  This investigation demonstrates the strength of collaborative local, county, state and federal law enforcement efforts in Vermont and our strong partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

“Operations like this demonstrate the critically important results that can be achieved through close coordination among state, local and federal law enforcement in Vermont,” said Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent In Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, Boston.  "Homeland Security Investigations is committed to maintaining our strong working relationship with our state, local and federal law enforcement colleagues in addressing the threats to public safety in the state of Vermont.”

“The operation was a large scale event with significant results directly connected to the strong partnerships that exist among our local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.  As made evident by this event, the criminal element has no boundaries.   This operation is a testament to our commitment to pursue and disrupt illegal activity in innovative and effective ways throughout Vermont,” stated U.S. Marshal Bradley J. LaRose.

“Effective coordination between federal, state, and local agencies is essential for us to identify and disrupt drug trafficking organizations,” said James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Together, our agencies prevented 70 grams of crack cocaine and nearly 1,000 bags of heroin from being sold on our streets. The FBI, along with our law enforcement partners, is committed to investigating and bringing justice to the individuals arrested in this operation. Anyone who harms our communities with their drug dealing should know we're coming for you.”

“The success of this initiative is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all the law enforcement professionals in the region working in a truly collaborative fashion," said Kelly D. Brady, Special Agent-in-Charge of ATF’s Boston Field Division. "We could not ask for a better group of professionals to work with toward the shared goal of reducing violent crime in the City of Brattleboro and throughout Vermont."

“Resources from federal and state agencies combined with local law enforcement’s knowledge of the activities and needs of their community make a formidable team when conducting drug interdiction operations,” stated Brattleboro Police Chief Michael Fitzgerald. “Integrating multiple agencies in the execution of an operation requires extensive planning, coordination and cooperation. For us to be successful, we need to work together and take advantage of each other’s unique set of skills. This cooperation proved invaluable to the overall success of the most recent operation in Brattleboro. I would like to thank all the agencies which participated in the recent drug interdiction operation in Brattleboro. I would especially like to thank U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan and the members of her team who worked tirelessly over the past several months in coordinating this effort.”

Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Thomas D. Anderson stated:  “Vermont has done a tremendous job in making opioid treatment available to anyone who wishes to get treatment. Unfortunately, as these arrests demonstrate, there continues to be a demand for illegal opioids throughout Vermont.  One of the most important tactics in fighting Vermont’s opioid epidemic is reducing the supply of this deadly poison by taking dealers off our streets and holding them accountable. This month in Brattleboro, which has one of the highest rates of overdose deaths in the state, the Vermont Drug Task Force worked in close collaboration with local and federal law-enforcement partners to make numerous arrests that targeted the trafficking and sale of these illegal drugs. Our message must be clear: Stop selling, get into treatment, or get arrested.  Our efforts to reduce the supply of drugs and the risk of overdose, and to bring offenders to justice, will continue.”

The Vermont Assistant U.S. Attorneys assisting in the operation and subsequent prosecutions are AUSAs John Boscia; Nate Burris; First Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Doyle; and Deputy Criminal Chief Jonathan Ophardt.  Defendant Bunkley is represented by Chris Davis, Esq.  Defendant Duprey is represented by the Office of the Federal Public Defender.  Defendant Arthur Fisk is represented by Maryanne E. Kampmann, Esq.  Defendant Gauthier is represented by David Watts, Esq.  Defendant Jackson is represented by Richard Bothfeld, Esq.  Defendant Magnuson is represented by Mary Kehoe, Esq.  Defendant Justine Pond is represented by Thomas Sherrer, Esq.  Defendant Jocelyn Pond is represented by Katina Ready, Esq.  Defendant Jaylen Pryor is represented by the Office of the Federal Public Defender.

Updated April 16, 2019

Drug Trafficking