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Press Release

Queens, New York Man Sentenced To Ten Months In Prison For Drug Conspiracy

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, on November 16, 2017, John Williams, 33, of Queens, New York was sentenced to ten months in federal prison after his guilty plea to a charge that he conspired to distribute heroin and cocaine base in the Burlington area. Chief U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss also ordered that Williams serve three years of supervised release after his prison term.

Judge Reiss previously sentenced Williams’ codefendant in the conspiracy, Laura Berard, to eight months imprisonment. According to court records, from late 2015 to mid-2016, codefendant Laura Berard periodically permitted Williams to use her North Champlain Street apartment in Burlington as a base from which to deal drugs, which Williams brought up from New York City.

In determining that a ten-month sentence was appropriate, Judge Reiss considered, among other factors, the relatively low drug quantity involved in this case as well as Williams’ efforts to turn his life around by attending college and being a more responsible parent. Judge Reiss also granted the defendant’s request for a variance from the crack cocaine Sentencing Guidelines table and to use the powder cocaine table instead as the basis for calculating the advisory term of imprisonment. According to court records, the total drug quantity involved was approximately twenty grams of crack cocaine and just over two grams of heroin. Williams faced a maximum sentence of twenty years.

Acting United States Attorney Cowles commended the Burlington Police Department, HSI, and DEA for their work in this investigation. She noted that this case is part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Vermont Heroin Initiative, which is a coordinated effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to combat heroin distribution in Vermont.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Perella and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Doherty, Jr handled this prosecution. Jean-Claude Charbonneau, Esq., of Rutland, represents John Williams. Assistant Federal Public Defender Steven Barth represented Berard.

Updated November 17, 2017

Drug Trafficking