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Press Release

Armed Drug Trafficker from Springfield, Massachusetts Sentenced to 87 Months

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

Rutland, Vermont – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont stated that on May 15, 2024, Jose Luis Maldonado, Jr., aka “Peeto,” 33, of Springfield, Massachusetts, was sentenced by Chief United States District Judge Geoffrey Crawford to a term of 87 months’ imprisonment to be followed by a 3-year term of supervised release. Maldonado previously pleaded guilty to possessing with the intent to distribute fentanyl, cocaine, and cocaine base.

According to court records, Maldonado was arrested on October 12, 2022 during a traffic stop conducted after law enforcement surveillance observed Maldonado and his codefendant, Edgar Correa, aka “Joker,” placing a shotgun and several bags into the trunk of their vehicle. During the traffic stop and ensuing search, law enforcement seized a loaded pistol tucked between the driver’s seat and center console next to where Maldonado had been seated, a pistol tucked between the passenger seat and the center console where Correa had been seated, a pistol under the passenger seat, and a shotgun in the trunk of the vehicle. Inside the trunk of the vehicle, law enforcement located approximately 24 grams of crack cocaine, 7 grams of powder cocaine, and 560 bags of fentanyl. In a post-arrest Mirandized statement, Maldonado admitted selling drugs in Vermont for almost a year, carrying firearms during drug transactions, and trading drugs for a firearm. During the investigation, several witnesses reported that Maldonado and his drug associates engaged in violence while distributing drugs, including pointing a firearm at a woman’s head while demanding payment of a drug debt, and pistol-whipping a man over missing cash. Witnesses also reported that Maldonado and his associates used drugs and drug debts to coerce women to perform sexual acts and bestiality.

United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest stated, “This case represents yet another example of the connection between illegal drug trafficking, firearms, and violence. In addition, the defendant’s coercion of women based on their drug addiction or drug debts is especially pernicious. This office and our partners will not rest in our efforts to disrupt and prosecute those who sell illegal drugs, use firearms to conduct their business, and exploit the addictions of others.” U.S. Attorney Kerest also commended the collaborative investigatory efforts of the Southern Vermont Drug Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Vermont State Police, the Rutland City Police Department, and Homeland Security Investigations.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Colin Owyang and Jonathan Ophardt. Maldonado was represented by Michael Straub, Esq.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results. For more information about Project Safe Neighborhoods, please visit


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(802) 951-6725

Updated May 15, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime