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Press Release

Six Men Charged with Conspiring to Distribute Cocaine Base and Fentanyl in Rutland

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

Burlington, Vermont – The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that on April 3, 2024, a federal grand jury returned a Second Superseding Indictment charging  Eddie Melendez, 30, Reuben Melendez, 28, and Serafin Melendez, 53, of Feeding Hills, Massachusetts, Mathew Ponce, 29, and Giovanny Guzman, 23, of Springfield, Massachusetts, and Anthony Baker, 31 of Rutland, Vermont, with conspiracy to distribute cocaine base and fentanyl in Vermont between August 2023 and January 12, 2024. Eddie Melendez, Reuben Melendez, Mathew Ponce, Anthony Baker, and Giovanny Guzman were also charged with additional violations of the Controlled Substances Act, including distribution of a controlled substance or possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

Each of the defendants has entered a not guilty plea to the charges during arraignments before United States Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle in April and May 2024. Serafin Melendez, Eddie Melendez, Reuben Melendez, and Mathew Ponce were released on conditions pending trial. Anthony Baker and Giovanny Guzman were ordered detained pending trial.

The United States Attorney’s Office emphasizes that an indictment contains allegations only and that the above-named defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The defendants face up to twenty years of incarceration if convicted. The actual sentence, however, would be determined by the Court with guidance from the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines and the statutory sentencing factors.

United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest commended the investigatory efforts of Homeland Security Investigations, Vermont State Police, Rutland City Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Bennington County Sheriff’s Department.

The prosecutors are Assistant United States Attorneys Jason Turner and Jonathan Ophardt. Eddie Melendez is represented by John Claude Charbonneau, Esq. Reuben Melendez is represented by Mark Oettinger, Esq. Serafin Melendez is represented by Ian Carleton, Esq. Mathew Ponce is represented by Robert Behrens, Esq. Giovanny Guzman is represented by Robert Sussman, Esq. Anthony Baker is represented Richard Goldsborough, Esq.


Media Inquiries/Public Affairs Officer:

(802) 951-6725

Updated May 9, 2024

Drug Trafficking