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Press Release

Rutland Man Indicted on Firearm Charges

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 John Ryea, 40, of Rutland, Vermont, was arraigned in the District of Vermont on November 29, 2023. A federal grand jury sitting in Rutland, Vermont returned a two-count indictment on November 15, 2023 alleging that Ryea possessed a firearm after being convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence and possessed a stolen firearm. Ryea was arrested on November 28, 2023 and made an initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle on November 29, 2023. Ryea was ordered detained pending further proceedings.

According to court records, Ryea has a November 30, 2022 misdemeanor domestic violence conviction from Rutland Superior Court where he admitted to punching his then live-in girlfriend in the jaw. He remained on probation in that state court case when he allegedly committed the charges contained in this federal indictment.

The United States Attorney’s Office emphasizes that an indictment contains allegations only and that Ryea remains presumed innocent unless and until he is convicted of a crime. If convicted, Ryea faces a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release and a mandatory special assessment of $100. The actual sentence will be advised by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jon Ophardt and Colin Owyang. Ryea is represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Steven Barth.

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


Media Inquiries/Public Affairs Officer:

(802) 951-6725

Updated November 30, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses