NEWPORT — A federal grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging ten individuals with conspiring to distribute fentanyl and cocaine base between February 2022 and August 5, 2022.
The indictment includes nine additional counts alleging distributions or intended distributions of fentanyl by specific individuals among the defendants.
The lead defendant, Juan Carlos Ortiz, 28, of Springfield, Massachusetts, is already in federal custody following his arrest on a prior federal drug case in August.
The other defendants include:
Clair Deslandes, 64, Island Pond
Jeremy Allin, 51, Lunenburg
Hayley McDonald, 25, Derby
Margaret Radford, 53, Newport Center
Mary Rhodes, 45, North Troy
Loretta Poquette, 47, Norton
Ronald Braun, 43, Lowell
Jessica Ward 44, Lowell
Angela Birk 41, Newport
If convicted of the charged offenses, the defendants would each face a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and up to a $1 million fine.
The charges in the indictment follow an investigation conducted by multiple state and federal agencies led by the Northern Vermont Drug Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.