BRATTLEBORO — Five people have been sentenced for their role in distributing drugs in the area more than a year ago, according to court documents.
The final defendant, Rory Jackson, 36, of Queens, N.Y., was sentenced Wednesday. The office of the U.S. attorney in Vermont announced the sentence Friday.
Earlier this year, Vermont residents Rachael Gauthier of Brattleboro, Jocelyn Pond of West Brattleboro, Justine Pond of Putney and Sarah Cassell of Brattleboro were also sentenced in the federal case, which was heard in U.S. District Court in Burlington, Vt.
Their arrests were part of what officials called a multi-agency “surge” in southern Vermont that swept up more than a dozen people on drug charges in spring 2019. Law enforcement officials trumpeted the operation, which targeted several apparently unconnected groups allegedly selling in and around Brattleboro, as a warning to drug traffickers.
In this case, prosecutors accused the defendants of involvement in a drug-selling business based in a Central Street apartment, where Gauthier and at least one of the Pond sisters lived, according to affidavits written by Special Agent Brandon K. Hope of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Cassell lived next door, according to Hope.
Between September 2017 and April 2019, people cooperating with law enforcement bought fentanyl or crack cocaine from Cassell, Gauthier, Justine Pond and Jocelyn Pond, according to the affidavits.
During an April 2019 search of the Central Street home, officers arrested Jackson, who was identified as a “potential out-of-state drug source” by others present, according to an investigative report quoted in a defense lawyer’s motion. About 100 bags of suspected heroin were found on Jackson, according to federal prosecutors.
Jackson pleaded guilty to possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Gauthier, who pleaded guilty to distributing fentanyl, was sentenced to one year and one day.
Jocelyn Pond, for distributing fentanyl, and Cassell, for distributing crack cocaine, were both sentenced to time served.
Justine Pond was sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty to distributing fentanyl.