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Press Release

Johnson, Vermont Man Sentenced to 57 Months for Drug and Gun Offenses

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

Burlington, Vermont – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont stated that on May 30, 2024, George Goins, 66, of Johnson, Vermont, was sentenced by United States District Judge William K. Sessions III to a term of 57 months’ imprisonment to be followed by a 3-year term of supervised release. Goins previously pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to court records, on June 8, 2022, Goins was arrested following an investigation into a shooting that occurred outside of Goins’ apartment complex in Johnson, Vermont on June 7, 2022. In the early morning hours of June 7, 2022, the victim, who lived in the same apartment building as Goins, confronted Goins near his apartment. Goins took a handgun from his pocket, shot the victim in the neck, and fled. Law enforcement later obtained a warrant to search Goins’ apartment where they recovered a Smith & Wesson SD9 VE 9mm semi-automatic pistol. From a riverbank behind the Johnson apartment complex, investigators recovered a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol. Based on the caliber and characteristics of the weapon, investigators believe that the gun found near the riverbank was used to shoot the victim. The victim was treated at a hospital for injuries and later released. Goins is prohibited from possessing firearms due to his criminal history.

On June 8, 2022, law enforcement located Goins outside of a hotel in South Burlington, Vermont. Law enforcement recovered fentanyl and cocaine base in Goins’ hotel room. Goins also had four bags of fentanyl on his person at the time of his arrest.

United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest commended the collaborative investigatory efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Vermont State Police, the Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department, the Morristown Police Department, the South Burlington Police Department, and the Burlington Police Department.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary Stendig. Goins was represented by Federal Public Defender Michael Desautels.

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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Updated May 30, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime