Drugs and Crime

Another drug robbery killing, police say

Suspects in St. Johnsbury drug robbery killing, from left: Rafael Rodriguez, Natasha Cady, Brittany Clark, and Michael Ringuette

For the second time in a week, Vermont law enforcement has concluded that a 2022 violent shooting death was the result of a drug crime-related robbery.

On January 11, the U.S. Attorney for Vermont charged a Colchester crack cocaine dealer with leading a February robbery at a Swanton home that resulted in the death of a rival dealer, Jacob Oliver.

The Vermont State Police on Tuesday, Jan. 17 arrested four suspects in connection with the fatal shooting last month of Israel Jimenez Lugo, 49, at the St. Johnsbury apartment house where he lived. VSP was assisted by the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations during the arrests.

The suspects and charges are:

  • Rafael Rodriguez, 34, of St. Johnsbury: First-degree murder, assault and robbery, and burglary of an occupied dwelling while armed.
  • Natasha Cady, 29, of Barton: Aiding in the commission of first-degree murder, aiding in the commission of assault and robbery, and aiding in the commission of burglary into an occupied dwelling while armed.
  • Brittany Clark, 33, of St. Johnsbury: Aiding in the commission of first-degree murder, aiding in the commission of assault and robbery, and burglary into an occupied dwelling.
  • Michael Ringuette, 55, of St. Johnsbury: Aiding in the commission of first-degree murder, aiding in the commission of assault and robbery, burglary into an occupied dwelling, and unlawful restraint.

According to court papers prepared by investigators, the four suspects are alleged to have been involved with buying and selling illegal drugs and participated in a plan to rob Jimenez Lugo. During the commission of the robbery, which took place overnight Dec. 13-14, 2022, Rodriguez fatally shot Jimenez Lugo.

Rodriguez and Ringuette were ordered held without bail, and Cady and Clark for lack of $50,000 bail pending arraignment hearings, which are expected to occur at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18 in the Criminal Division of Vermont Superior Court in St. Johnsbury.

The Vermont State Police worked closely on this investigation with Caledonia County State’s Attorney’s Office. The investigation remains active and ongoing. Police continue to request that anyone with information that could assist detectives call the Vermont State Police in St. Johnsbury at 802-748-3111 or provide an anonymous tip online at https://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.

Categories: Drugs and Crime

8 replies »

  1. The lax border enforcement is flooding our country with deadly opioids that kill over 100,000 Americans annually. The lax law enforcement resulting from the BLM police de-funding are enabling turf battles and other dirtbag-junkie behavior, in this case resulting in a death. We brought all this on by our voting behavior and we should be beaming with pride!

      • Nor did I, but all those brilliant Biden voters did! The voting majority in Vermont should be ashamed of what they’ve done to this country and this state. And let’s not forget the VT media and all those progressive social justice warriors funneling boat loads of out of state money into our state to push all the lies and censorship we are learning about. And further, Baruth and his unconstitutional gang of progressives push to disarm the population here and make us defenseless against these savages roaming our streets, roads, towns and cities.

  2. Dano, I think Baruth will find that the results of any unconstitutional guns prohibitions will not actually reduce the guns, how they are used or stored in this state, rather there will be a large segment of the gun owners here who will become part of a newly created class of “criminals”…so called

    • Of course we all know that criminals obey all the laws passed by these do-gooders. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and these legislators could never consider themselves to be wrong about anything. It’s much more important for them to feel good about themselves than it is to solve anything. Remember, government produces nothing, creates more problems than it solves, takes money from you that you earned by doing something while all they do is talk, create havoc and restrict freedom.

  3. While I agree that it is a problem that drugs flood in from the southern border and harsher punishment needs to be applied to drug dealers, nothing is ever said about the users. If people would refrain from using all these drugs, from paying for illicit sex with adults or children, the sex trade and illegal drug trade would dry up.

  4. New York Times, January 8, 2014: “Since 2000, Vermont has seen an increase of more than 770 percent in treatment for opiate addictions, up to 4,300 people in 2012. Democrats, who control both houses of the Legislature, lauded the governor’s single-minded focus.“He hit it absolutely right,” said Senator Richard Sears, chairman of the Judiciary Committee. “I’ve been dealing with addicted folks for years and have seen the increase in crime related to this addiction problem.”

    2000 – 2022: The progress our representatives and bureaucrats make with their policies over two decades speaks volumes doesn’t it? Why stop what they personally benefit from while the rest of us pay them to do it?