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Press Release

Four Sentenced in Connection with Arson at 400 Main Street in Winooski, Vermont and Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin and Cocaine

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

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Bryant McCray, 33, and Lateek Cargo, 32, both formerly of Brooklyn, New York, have been sentenced on charges of arson and conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine.  The charges stem from an April 2016 arson at 400 Main Street in Winooski, Vermont and a years-long drug-trafficking conspiracy involving large quantities of heroin and cocaine.  Justin Johnson, 33, of Baltimore, Maryland, and Kylee Raduechel, 31, of Essex, Vermont, also have been sentenced on charges of conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine. 

On January 22, 2019 and March 7, 2019, United States District Court Judge Christina Reiss sentenced Bryant McCray to 129 months of imprisonment and four years of supervised release and Lateek Cargo to 118 months of imprisonment and four years of supervised release.  Both McCray and Cargo were jointly and severally ordered to pay restitution to the victims of the offense in the amount of $138,063.17.  Judge Reiss previously had sentenced Justin Johnson to 60 months of imprisonment and four years of supervised release.  Finally, on June 3, 2019, Judge Reiss sentenced Kylee Raduechel to 48 months of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release. 

As described at the defendants’ sentencings and in court records, since about late 2014, McCray, Cargo, and Johnson began coming to Chittenden County, Vermont and staying at a variety of local residences to distribute heroin and cocaine.  On April 23, 2016, McCray and Cargo went to a Colchester, Vermont gas station where McCray filled a red, plastic can with gasoline.  From there, McCray and Cargo went to an apartment complex on Main Street in Winooski, Vermont.  Prior to April 23, 2016, Justin Johnson, a drug runner for McCray and Cargo, had been robbed of drugs and money while staying at one of the apartments in the complex.  McCray and Cargo traveled to the apartment to exact revenge for the robbery of drugs and money from Johnson.  While at the Winooski apartment, McCray and Cargo poured gasoline over the victim’s bedroom and lit it on fire.  The fire resulted in extensive damage to the apartment building and displaced tenants, who were able to escape the rapidly spreading flames.

After the arson, Kylee Raduechel began hosting McCray and others at her residence in Essex, Vermont.  McCray also possessed a firearm during the offense.  In September 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other members of law enforcement executed a search warrant at Raduechel’s residence that resulted in the seizure of about 30 grams of heroin and nearly 100 grams of cocaine base.  Undeterred, members of the conspiracy continued to distribute controlled substances in Vermont until their arrests in 2017.  All four defendants pleaded guilty before trial.

This case provides an example of the United States Attorney’s Office Violent Crime Initiative, aimed at pursuing federal prosecutions involving the intersection of drug trafficking and violence.  United States Attorney Christina Nolan commended the efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations, the Vermont State Police and the Vermont Drug Task Force, as well as the Burlington Police Department, the Essex Police Department, and the Winooski Police Department. 

United States Attorney Nolan added: “This extraordinary law enforcement collaborative effort exemplifies our resolve to combat violence and drug trafficking.  The defendants’ conduct was motivated by greed and they put innocent Vermont lives at risk.  We will continue to deliver serious consequences for offenses of this magnitude.”

“These sentencings demonstrate ATF’s commitment to protect our communities from violent criminals that threaten our quality of life,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Kelly D. Brady, Boston Field Division.  “ATF will continue to collaborate with our law enforcement partners to eradicate violent crime and dismantle criminal organizations that threaten our neighborhoods.”

“Illegal drug distribution ravages the very foundations of our families and communities here in Vermont,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle.  “ Let these sentences be a warning to those traffickers who are coming from out of state to distribute this poison, that DEA and its local, state and federal partners will do everything in our power to bring you to justice.”

Bryant McCray is represented by Michelle Anderson Barth, Esq.  Lateek Cargo is represented by Mark A. Kaplan, Esq.  Justin Johnson is represented by Devin McLaughlin, Esq.  Kylee Raduechel is represented by Federal Public Defender Michael L. Desautels, Esq.  The United States is represented by AUSAs Paul J. Van de Graaf and John J. Boscia.

Updated June 6, 2019

Drug Trafficking