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Press Release

Windsor And Bellows Falls Men Sentenced For Trading Handguns To Frank Caraballo For Drugs

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

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated today that two men who separately traded different handguns to convicted drug dealer Frank Caraballo, of Holyoke, Massachusetts were recently sentenced by Chief Judge Reiss of the United States District Court in Rutland.

       Chief Judge Reiss sentenced Robert Cappiallo, 29, of Windsor, Vermont, to 52 months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release. Judge Reiss previously sentenced Thomas Parrott, 33, of Bellows Falls, Vermont, to 58 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

        According to court records, including testimony in the trial of United States v. Frank Caraballo, in July 2011, a few weeks before Caraballo caused the murder of Melissa Barratt on July 28, 2011 in Dummerston, Vermont, Parrott traded a Glock 9mm handgun to Caraballo for several grams of crack cocaine. This trade occurred late one evening in the Hannaford’s parking lot in Brattleboro, Vermont. According to the forensic evidence introduced at Caraballo’s trial, a Glock 9mm was used to murder Barratt. 

        According to court records, including testimony in the trial of United States v. Frank Caraballo, in early July 2011, Cappiallo stole a Desert Eagle .357 handgun from his brother-in-law in Windsor, Vermont. Cappiallo later traded this firearm in Ludlow, Vermont to Caraballo to pay off a drug debt for heroin and crack cocaine and to obtain additional drugs. This firearm was never recovered.

       In the past few years, the United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted several other individuals who obtained handguns for drug dealers, including drug addicts who traded such firearms for drugs, as well as the drug dealers who obtained such firearms. These firearms are often used to commit additional crimes. For example, in United States v. Jewel Hurt, a handgun (Cobra .380 pistol) traded to Jewel Hurt in Rutland by a drug addict for a few grams of crack cocaine in 2010 was later stolen from Hurt by Lamont James (aka “Supreme”) in an armed home invasion in Rutland. On October 28, 2010, in the Stewart’s parking lot in Rutland, James displayed this firearm in a threatening manner and was fatally shot by a Vermont State Trooper. Jewel Hurt was sentenced to 100 months imprisonment by United States District Court Judge J. Garvan Murtha. 

       In another gun-for-drug trade, pertaining to the cases of United States v. Gregory Gosselin, and United States v. Michael Norrie, Norrie traded a .22 handgun he stole from his father in Sheffield, Vermont, to Greg Gosselin for marijuana and money. Soon afterwards, on October 19, 2009, Gosselin and Scott Tobyne used this handgun to rob a young female McDonald’s employee in Lyndonville,Vermont who was making a night deposit at a Lyndonville bank. Judge Reiss sentenced Gosselin to 49 months imprisonment, Norrie to 56 months imprisonment, and Tobyne to 39 months imprisonment.

        United States Attorney Tristram Coffin stated that: “these cases tragically illustrate that firearms conveyed to drug dealers are often used to commit violent crimes. These cases also show that it is unlikely that firearms illegally traded to drug dealers are used for lawful sporting purposes. The United States Attorney’s Office, with our partners at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, will continue to vigorously prosecute those who trade guns for drugs, purchase guns for drug dealers, or otherwise unlawfully put firearms in the hands of criminals.”

        The Parrott and Cappiallo cases were jointly investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Vermont State Police, and the Vermont Drug Task Force. The United States is represented in these cases by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul Van de Graaf and Joe Perella. Robert Cappiallo is represented by Jordana Levine of White River Junction. Thomas Parrott is represented by Thomas Sherrer of Burlington

Updated June 22, 2015