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Vermont Heroin, Crack Distributors Charged

MAY 11 (BURLINGTON, Vt.) – Michael J. Ferguson Special Agent-in-Charge of the DEA’s New England Division, and the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that federal criminal charges have been brought against three individuals accused of making their residences in Chittenden County, Vermont available for drug activity. These charges resulted from long-term investigations into the distribution of fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine base by three different drug organizations operating in Chittenden County.

The following individuals were charged as described below:

Michelle West, age 41, for conspiring with Rashaad Phillips of Boston and Saquan Moore of Boston to distribute fentanyl and cocaine base, and for making a house West controlled at 98 Shady Lane in Colchester, VT, available for drug activity.

Gayle Morenus, age 41, for conspiring with Myron Bernard of Philadelphia and Kevin Kyle Forman of Burlington to distribute heroin and cocaine base, and making an apartment Morenus controlled at 25 South Willard Street in Burlington, VT, available for drug activity.

Michael Bessette, age 48, for conspiring with Philip Haynes of New York City to distribute fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine base, and for making a house Bessette controlled at 23 1/2 North Champlain Street in Burlington, VT, available for drug activity.

West, Morenus, and Bessette each face a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment for making their homes available for drug distribution.

In announcing these charges, Acting United States Attorney Eugenia A. P. Cowles stated that “with the help of our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, our office continues to pursue not only drug traffickers moving drugs into Vermont, but also Vermonters who facilitate drug distribution. These facilitators allow drug dealers to exploit the safe-harbor of their homes to operate and peddle their poison within our communities. In doing so, they commit crimes worthy of federal prosecution.”

The investigations of these individuals were conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Burlington Police Department, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Vermont State Police Drug Task Force.


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