August 03, 2016
Contact: SA Timothy Desmond
Phone Number: (617) 557-2100
Connecticut Man Sentenced To 89 Months In Federal Prison For Heroin Dealing
AUG 03 - 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, on August 2, 2016, Nathan Minervini, 37, of East Haven, Connecticut, was sentenced to 89 months in federal prison after his guilty plea to charges that he conspired to distribute heroin. Chief U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss also ordered that Minervini serve five years of supervised release after his prison term.
According to court records, between late 2014 and his arrest in Connecticut on May 7, 2015, Minervini transported significant quantities of heroin from Connecticut to Vermont for re-distribution. In 2009, Minervini pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut to charges that he conspired to distribute cocaine. For that offense, Minervini was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release. Minervini was serving that term of supervised release in Connecticut while he was trafficking heroin to Vermont 2014 and 2015. While engaged in the Vermont heroin distribution conspiracy, Minervini used a co-conspirator to purchase three handguns at a Vermont gun store. Minervini traded heroin and cash for these firearms and brought them to Connecticut.
After a lengthy investigation by the Burlington Police (BPD) narcotics unit and the Drug Enforcement Administration, on May 6, 2016, law enforcement obtained a federal criminal complaint charging that Minervini distributed heroin. When federal agents attempted to arrest Minervini in a residential neighborhood in West Haven, Connecticut on May 7, 2015, he attempted to escape. Minervini repeatedly crashed his car into law enforcement vehicles and fled down a residential street, striking several vehicles in the process. Ultimately, Minervini hit a school bus carrying kindergarten children and his vehicle was disabled. None of the children were injured although a number were brought to the hospital as a precautionary measure. Following the crash, Minervini ran from his car and led agents on a foot chase through the neighborhood. While doing so, Minervini dropped a semi-automatic handgun that had been previously purchased for him in Vermont. The handgun was loaded and had a round in its chamber. Agents were finally able to stop Minervini as he attempted to scale a chain link fence. From Minervini’s person, agents recovered heroin and approximately $4,415 in cash. Minervini was the last of five defendants to be sentenced in this conspiracy prosecution. On March 21, 2016 Judge Reiss sentenced Stephen Boles, 23, of Williston, Vermont to time served followed by three years of supervised release. According to court records, Boles was a Vermont dealer who sold Minervini’s heroin to Vermont customers and supplied Minervini with handguns.
On April 1, 2016, Judge Reiss sentenced Corey Rispoli, 23, of West Haven, Connecticut to 24 months in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release. According to court records, Rispoli trafficked heroin and cash on Minervini’s behalf during the conspiracy. On April 11, 2016, Judge Reiss sentenced Brandon Morel, 25, of Colchester, Vermont to time served followed by two years of supervised release. According to court records, Morel was a Vermont dealer who sold Minervini’s heroin to Vermont customers. On April 14, 2016, Judge Reiss sentenced Samuel Wormer, 27, of Essex, Vermont, to 12 months and one day in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. According to court records, Wormer was a Vermont dealer who sold Minervini’s heroin to Vermont customers and supplied Minervini with handguns. Wormer had purchased the handgun Minervini was carrying when he was arrested in Connecticut.
For the heroin conspiracy, Minervini faced a statutory maximum term of 20 years in prison. The United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are advisory, recommended that Minervini serve between 84 and 105 months. The Guidelines also recommended that Minervini serve between 15 and 21 months for violating his conditions of supervised release in Connecticut and that this sentence run consecutively to the prison term imposed for the heroin conspiracy. The United States asked Judge Reiss to impose an overall sentence of 105 months for both the heroin conspiracy and the violation of supervised release. Minervini requested a 65-month sentence. In determining that an 89-month overall sentence was appropriate, Judge Reiss considered the gravity of Minervini’s offense, the harm heroin has caused to the Vermont community, Minervini’s serious criminal record, and the fact that Minervini armed himself with Vermont handguns while selling heroin.
United States Attorney Eric Miller commended the efforts of DEA, the BPD narcotics unit, and the U.S. Marshals. United States Attorney Miller noted that this case is part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Vermont Heroin Initiative, which is a coordinated effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to combat heroin distribution in Vermont. According to United States Attorney Miller, this prosecution is an excellent example of teamwork between DEA and the Burlington Police Department who worked together to identify and then dismantle a significant pipeline of heroin into the Chittenden County community. Miller stated that “such coordination between federal and local law enforcement is essential to reducing the flow of heroin into Vermont.” United States Attorney Miller also highlighted that this prosecution demonstrates the United States Attorney’s Office’s commitment to holding out-of-state heroin traffickers and their Vermont co-conspirators accountable for their crimes.