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Michigan Man Sentenced to 12.5 Years in Prison for Drug Trafficking

DEC 09 (BURLINGTON, Vt) – Michael J. Ferguson Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Damein Hampton, 38, of Ypsilanti, Michigan, appeared Friday for sentencing in United States District Court in Burlington. United States District Court Judge William K. Sessions III sentenced him to 151 months of incarceration following his guilty plea to Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine and 280 Grams or More of Cocaine Base.

According to court documents and a series of witnesses at the two-day sentencing hearing, the defendant, aka “Tree,” was accused of being the organizer and manager of a drug conspiracy in Vermont beginning in 2009 and continuing up to his arrest in January 2014. During that time, the defendant trafficked cocaine and cocaine base into Vermont from New York, Michigan, and Arizona, and distributed cocaine, cocaine base, and heroin throughout the Burlington and Newport areas of Vermont. The government accused the defendant of trafficking approximately 2500 grams of crack cocaine, 2050 grams of powder cocaine, and 125 grams of heroin. The defendant estimated that he trafficked approximately 1325 grams of crack cocaine, 1325 grams of powder cocaine, and no heroin.

At sentencing, the government called four witnesses to illustrate the defendant’s drug trafficking activities and his history and characteristics. The witnesses testified that they housed him, stashed his drugs for him, distributed his drugs on his behalf, deposited drug proceeds into his bank account, and trafficked his drugs into Vermont from New York and Michigan. One of the government’s witnesses testified about specific threats of physical violence that he made to her. Government witnesses also testified that the defendant was responsible for a June 7, 2012 shooting on Farrell Street in South Burlington, was the intended victim of a shooting in downtown Burlington on May 5, 2013, and carried a firearm in the center console of his car as a result of a falling out with an associate.  Also at sentencing, the defendant presented competing evidence of the relevant facts. Through the testimony of two defense witnesses and the defendant himself, the defendant admitted to years of serial drug trafficking despite six prior felony convictions for carrying a concealed weapon, robbery, narcotics sale, narcotics possession, and assault, as well as seven misdemeanor convictions. He denied that he was responsible for the Farrell Street shooting and that he used violence or threats of violence to further his trafficking activity.

Additionally, the government urged the Court to consider that the defendant absconded from Michigan and remained a fugitive for a period of months while he continued to sell drugs in Schenectedy, New York. This followed on the heels of learning that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was investigating him, had arrested his co-conspirators in transit from Michigan to Vermont with 163.6 grams of his crack cocaine and 52.5 grams of his powder cocaine, and was interested in the defendant’s cooperation.

In fashioning its 12.5 year sentence, the Court stated that it took into account the defendant’s criminal history, the facts of the case as he found them, and the defendant’s background and personal history.
Damein Hampton was represented by Attorney Mark Kaplan. The prosecutors were Assistant U.S. Attorneys Abigail Averbach and William Darrow.

The United States Attorney expresses his gratitude to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Burlington Police Department, the Milton Police Department, and the South Burlington Police Department for their excellent investigative work and assistance with this case.


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