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Press Release

Rhode Island Man Charged with Possessing Twelve Kilograms of Cocaine

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

Burlington, Vermont - The United States Attorney’s Office stated that Freddy Rodriguez, 38, of West Warwick, Rhode Island, has been charged by criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Rodriguez initially appeared before Magistrate Judge Doyle on September 20, 2023, and a detention hearing was delayed until September 25, 2023. Rodriguez was released on conditions of pretrial supervision at the conclusion of the hearing on September 25, 2023.

According to court documents, federal agents encountered Rodriguez behind a rented camp in Highgate, Vermont the night of September 18 into September 19, 2023. Agents observed Rodriguez walking to the shore of Lake Champlain at approximately 12:05 am carrying a bag. After agents received notice that a vessel had entered the United States on the lake traveling south near the camp’s location, they observed Rodriguez transfer objects from his bag into a kayak, and began to drag the kayak into the water. When agents confronted him, Rodriguez unsuccessfully tried to flee. The objects Rodriguez had loaded into the kayak were brick-like objects wrapped in black cellophane-style packaging containing a white powder that tested presumptively positive for the presence of cocaine. The packages and their contents weighed approximately 12.2 kilograms (approximately 26.4 pounds).

The United States Attorney’s Office emphasizes that a criminal complaint contains allegations only and that Rodriguez is presumed innocent until and unless he is convicted of a crime. As presently charged, Rodriguez faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment and up to 40 years’ imprisonment for the possession of more than 500 grams of cocaine with intent to distribute it. The actual sentence, however, would be determined by the Court with guidance from the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines and statutory sentencing factors.

United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest commended the investigatory efforts and rapid response of Homeland Security Investigations and the United States Border Patrol.

The prosecutor is Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Lasher. Rodriguez is represented by William Keefe, Esq. of Boston, Massachusetts.


Media Inquiries/Public Affairs Officer:

(802) 951-6725

Updated September 26, 2023

Drug Trafficking