16 Individuals Charged or Arrested as Part of Joint Law Enforcement Effort
On November 14, 2019, the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional law enforcement effort that focused on drug trafficking in the areas of Newport and Saint Johnsbury, Vermont.
During the month-long operation conducted by federal, state, local, and county officers, and federal and state prosecutors, law enforcement
arrested or charged 16 individuals, searched 3 residences, and seized approximately 700 bags of fentanyl and heroin, 100 grams of cocaine base, 2 firearms, and $4,000 in drug proceeds.
Those charged in federal court include:
• Morgan Cleveland, 39, of Newport, Vermont, for possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.
• Jen Thompson, 39, of Newport, Vermont, for maintaining a drug-involved premises and distribution of cocaine base.
• Juliana Graves, 49, of Newport, Vermont, for possession with intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine base.
• Elijah Wheeler-Watson, 23, of Clinton, Massachusetts, for possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and heroin.
• Adis Djozo, 26, of Essex Junction, Vermont, for possession with intent to distribute heroin.
• Alicia Parenteau, 36, of Newport, Vermont, for distribution of cocaine base.
• Chakeshia Watts, 40, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, for maintaining a drug-involved premises.
• Jerry Watts, 62, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, for maintaining a drug-involved premises.
• Randy Devoid, 50, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, for distribution of cocaine base.
• Shaquille Carter, 26, of New York, New York, for possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and heroin.
• Christina Thompson, 42, of Lyndonville, Vermont, for distribution of cocaine base.
Those arrested on state warrants and violations include:
• Soloman Little, 26, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, who was arrested and cited for fraud.
• Christopher MacKay, 52, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, who was arrested on an extraditable warrant for violation of probation in Maine, and multiple failures to appear in Vermont court proceedings.
• Mark Houston, 30, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, who was arrested twice in the same day for violating the conditions of his release by breaking curfew restrictions.
• Michael Barry, 26, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, who was arrested for failure to appear in Vermont court proceedings.
• Michelle Churchill, 34, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, who was arrested for violating conditions of furlough and returned to correctional custody with the Vermont Department of Corrections.
Defendant Carter is currently a fugitive. Defendant Cleveland is at large. All other defendants were arrested during the operation.
The charges against the defendants are only allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This operation stemmed from careful planning and collaboration by Vermont law enforcement at all levels. The enforcement surge involved the participation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshals Service, the Vermont Drug Task Force, the Vermont State Police, the Saint Johnsbury Police Department, the Newport Police Department, the Lyndonville Police Department, the U.S. Border Patrol, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection – Air and Marine Operations. Crucial support was provided by the Office of the Caledonia County State’s Attorney and the Office of the Orleans County State’s Attorney. United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan thanked each agency for its teamwork and invaluable contribution to the operation.
United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan added: “Today, as we did earlier this year in Brattleboro, we announce the results of a team effort by law enforcement to combat drug trafficking in one of the hardest hit areas of the state. The Northeast Kingdom is suffering greatly under the weight of the drug crisis, and we deployed a sustained surge of enforcement resources to bring consequences to those selling deadly drugs in the area. The messages are simple. Out-of-state dealers should not come to Vermont; if they do, they will face serious consequences, no matter where in the state they do business. Those addicted Vermonters involved in the drug trade will also be held accountable. Today, we urge those Vermonters to turn in their dealers and seek treatment. We want them to have their lives back.”