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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Vermont

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 23, 2018

Bronx, New York Man Sentenced to Over Fifteen Years for Supplying Over a Kilogram of Heroin and Fentanyl For Distribution in Vermont

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Andre Terrell, aka “Buzzo,” of the Bronx, New York, was sentenced today for conspiracy to distribute over 100 grams of heroin, over 28 grams of cocaine base, and fentanyl.  United States District Judge Christina Reiss sentenced Terrell to a 190-month term of imprisonment, followed by an 8-year term of supervised release, and ordered Terrell to forfeit $60,000 of criminal proceeds derived from the drug conspiracy. 

According to Court records, Terrell was the primary supplier of heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine base to a Vermont-based drug distribution organization that operated from approximately March of 2015 to August of 2016.  Although Terrell’s primary role was the supplier for the organization, Terrell made frequent trips to Vermont, and functioned as a manger and supervisor of the organization.  Terrell admitted to importing over a kilogram of heroin into Vermont during the course of the conspiracy.  Addicted couriers transported the drugs from Terrell’s apartment in the Bronx to Terrell’s codefendants in Chittenden County and elsewhere.  At times, the drugs sent to Vermont by Terrell were pure fentanyl, which the organization packaged and distributed to Vermont drug users, leading to at least two nonfatal overdoses of Milton residents.  Further, Terrell and his codefendants knowingly used the Winooski apartment of a senior citizen as a stash location for over 100 grams of heroin, and provided this public-housing tenant heroin in exchange for the use of the residence to package drugs for distribution. 

At the sentencing hearing, Judge Reiss found that the multiple firearms possessed by Terrell’s codefendant were foreseeable to defendant Terrell.  Judge Reiss also found by a preponderance of the evidence that defendant Terrell used violence during the commission of his drug offense.  Specifically, Judge Reiss found that defendant Terrell had sexually assaulted at gunpoint a female drug courier, as retribution for the courier’s theft of drugs.  Judge Reiss also found pursuant to the United States Sentencing Guidelines that defendant Terrell’s criminal history warranted application of the career offender provisions in the Sentencing Guidelines.  Terrell’s prior convictions include a 1999 firearms conviction stemming from Terrell having pointed a loaded handgun at an NYPD officer; a 1999 drug conviction stemming from Terrell selling cocaine base to an undercover police officer; and a 2008 assault conviction for intentionally shooting a man in the leg.

Terrell’s arrest on March 16, 2017 was the culmination of a coordinated operation that involved numerous federal, state, and local agencies in the states of Vermont and New York. In total, law enforcement seized over 350 grams of heroin, over 70 grams of cocaine base, a .45 caliber Ruger semi-automatic pistol, and over $11,000 cash from Terrell and coconspirators. The investigation resulted in the indictment of Terrell along with nine coconspirators.  Coconspirator Evan “Red” Harris was previously sentenced to a 151 month term of incarceration for his role in the drug conspiracy and possession of firearms in furtherance of the conspiracy.  Coconspirator William Edward Harris was previously sentenced to a 60 month term of imprisonment for his role in the drug conspiracy.  Coconspirator Troy Washington was sentenced to a term of 44 months for his drug activities.  Coconspirator Sarah Larock was sentenced to a term of 18 months imprisonment for her role in the drug conspiracy.

United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan commended the collaborative investigation of the Federal Bureau of Investigations; the Vermont Drug Task Force; the Vermont State Police; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the New York State Police; the Shelburne Police Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Milton Vermont Police Department and the Burlington Vermont Police Department, in the successful arrest and prosecution of Terrell and his coconspirators.  She stated: 

This case represents the intersection of several of the USAO’s top priorities.  We will aggressively and relentlessly investigate and prosecute those who deal dangerous drugs for profit, especially fentanyl, which is killing Vermonters at an increasing and alarming rate.  Be on notice that, if you sell fentanyl in Vermont in any quantity, you are a potential target for federal prosecution.  Further, the USAO will continue to prioritize charging those who are involved in unlawful gun activity and those who use violence – in all contexts.  Such conduct is intolerable and poses great risks to innocent members of the public.  We will especially focus on bringing justice to drug dealers who viciously abuse addicts in the name of profit.  Finally, this case underscores the success of the Vermont model of cooperation across federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and with our counterparts in neighboring states.  We will continue to collaborate at all levels of law enforcement toward our public safety goals.  The important results we can achieve when we work in close concert are on display in this case.             

Milton Police Chief Steven Laroche stated, “because of the cooperation between local, state and federal law enforcement partners this significant case concluded in a conviction. This illicit drug activity resulted in numerous overdoses, one of which was a pregnant woman. This drug network plagued our community with increased crime which declined after arrests. I commend the combined effort of all agencies involved.”

Terrell was represented by Scott Brettschneider, Esq, and Mark Kaplan, Esq. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan A. Ophardt.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Component(s): 
Updated March 23, 2018