Haitian charged with coke, heroin, fentanyl dealing – The U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont stated July 27 that a federal grand jury, sitting in Rutland, charged Andersen Benoit, 39, of Danby with three counts of distribution of heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine base in July and September of 2019. Benoit is a citizen of Haiti and is also currently facing state drug trafficking charges in New York.
At his arraignment, Benoit pled not guilty to the charges. Judge Kevin J. Doyle ordered Benoit detained pending trial.
The penalties for each of the charges is up to 20 years of imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, and a mandatory three years of supervised release.
Dealer fails drug program, gets two years – Michael Goodnough, 46, of Rutland was sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Geoffrey Crawford to 24 months’ imprisonment and three years of supervised release, which will follow the term of imprisonment.
According to a July 29 U.S. District Court statement, Goodnough previously pled guilty to distribution of cocaine base, which carried a maximum of up to twenty years imprisonment. According to court records, in October 2018, Goodnough sold a quantity of cocaine base to a confidential informant for $100 in the Beer King parking lot in Rutland. The government alleged that for several months in 2018, Goodnough regularly sold cocaine base in the Rutland area to support his own drug addiction.
After pleading guilty, Goodnough participated in the Federal Drug Court Program in Rutland, beginning in June 2019. Goodnough struggled in the program, with multiple relapses, failures to attend treatment sessions, and instances of dishonesty.
Woman guilty of buying gun for drug dealer – Bridgette Lawlor, 34, of Bellows Falls, was sentenced in United States District Court in Burlington, Vermont, to serve two years on federal probation after her guilty plea to one count of making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of a firearm, according to a July 22 U.S. District Court statement. Judge Christina Reiss also ordered the criminal forfeiture of two firearms that were seized during the investigation.
According to court records and proceedings, on March 23, 2020, in connection with the purchase of a Ruger LCP .380 pistol, Lawlor completed an ATF Form 4473 at J&H Guns, a Federal Firearm Licensee located in Bellows Falls. On the Form 4473, Lawlor indicated that she was the actual buyer of the firearm. In fact, Lawlor was buying the gun at the request of her then-boyfriend, Ferdinand Cruz. At the time of the purchase, Cruz was a felon, having been previously convicted in Connecticut of robbery, unlawful restraint, and felony sale of cocaine. On April 1, 2020, Lawlor picked up the firearm at J&H Guns and provided it to Cruz.