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Press Release

Umar Koon Pleads Not Guilty to Drug Charges

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

Burlington, Vermont – The United States Attorney’s Office stated that Umar Koon, 45, of the Bronx, New York, pleaded not guilty today in United States District Court to charges that he distributed, and possessed with intent to distribute, illegal narcotics. United States Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle released Koon on conditions pending trial, which has not been scheduled.

According to court records, the Northwestern Vermont Drug Task Force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation began an investigation of Koon in the summer of 2023 after obtaining information that Koon was selling fentanyl in the Chittenden County area. Between September and November 2023, investigators, utilizing a confidential informant, made seven controlled purchases of drugs from Koon. On five occasions, it is alleged that Koon sold the confidential informant fentanyl; the two other deals involved cocaine base. Investigators arrested Koon on November 14 after he returned to Burlington from New York City on a bus. Agents seized a suitcase Koon was carrying, obtained a state court-issued warrant to search the bag, and recovered distribution quantities of cocaine, cocaine base and fentanyl. They also seized $1,500 in cash from Koon’s person.

Koon was held without bail on state charges until December 6, when he was released to live in New York City. On December 7, 2023, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Koon with seven counts of distributing illegal narcotics and one count of possessing other illegal narcotics with intent to distribute. Federal agents arrested Koon at his home in the Bronx on December 12. A federal judge in New York ordered that Koon surrender for arraignment today in Vermont. The State of Vermont has dismissed its case in favor of this federal prosecution.

The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges in the indictment are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty. If convicted, Koon faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000,000. The actual sentence would be determined with reference to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples. Koon is represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Steven Barth.


Media Inquiries/Public Affairs Officer:

(802) 951-6725

Updated December 18, 2023

Drug Trafficking