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Press Release

New Jersey Man Sentenced for Fire Set in Vergennes

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

Burlington, Vermont – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont announced that Eddy Santiago, Jr., 30, of Clifton, New Jersey was sentenced today in the United States District Court following his guilty plea to using extortionate means to collect and punish the nonrepayment of a debt. United States District Judge Christina Reiss sentenced Santiago to 49 months’ imprisonment to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release.

According to court records, Santiago was arrested by Vermont state law enforcement authorities on January 5, 2022, after he had set fire to a vehicle at a residence in the Booth Woods neighborhood of Vergennes earlier that morning. The fire destroyed two vehicles in the driveway and damaged the residence itself. Witnesses reported that Santiago had threatened to start a fire if the residents did not pay a large debt he thought they owed him for cocaine he had provided. Video cameras in nearby residences showed Santiago carrying a gas can and lighting the car on fire in the early morning hours of January 5, 2022; investigators also located gas station security camera footage showing Santiago filling a gas can in South Burlington approximately an hour before the fire and placing it in the front passenger seat of his vehicle. After Santiago was stopped and arrested, investigators found a partially filled gas can in the trunk of his vehicle.

Several law enforcement agencies participated in the investigation of Santiago, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); the Vermont State Police; the Vergennes Police Department; and the Middlebury Police Department. United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest commended the mutually supportive efforts of the agencies in their proactive investigation of drug crimes and their reactive investigation of the arson.

Santiago was represented by Kevin Henry, Esq. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Lasher represented the United States.


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Updated March 29, 2024

Violent Crime