Hartford, Connecticut a hub for Vermont illegal drugs

By Guy Page

On Dec. 8, Wilfredo Cerpa pleaded innocent to possessing fentanyl with intent to sell. Newport Police say Donta Flowers was shot in the early morning of Nov. 30 in Newport City by Jaquan Flintroy while Cerpa and Michael Alamo looked on. All four men were in the same car. They all know each other. They are all residents of Hartford, Connecticut.

Dec. 8, a federal grand jury charged Ralph Mariani (a.k.a. “D”), Cedano Brownswell, and Rashane Wedderburn for fentanyl and cocaine possession and/or intent to sell in Rutland. All three men live in Hartford, Connecticut (Mariani from East Hartford).

On Dec. 7, Jay Watkins was arrested by Hartford police carrying 20 grams of cocaine and a loaded pistol reported as stolen from St. Johnsbury. The arrest occurred in his hometown — Hartford, Connecticut.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Why are Hartford drug dealers targeting Vermont? A reading of police and media reports suggests at least three reasons: Gangs, greed and guns.

Hartford is the Nutmeg State’s capital and most populous city. It exports drug crime to Vermont. Here are just a few other notable cases, found in just 10 minutes of surfing the web:

September 2020: Chyquan Cupe, aka “Cash,” of Hartford, was sentenced to 9 years for operating a violent drug ring in Brattleboro.

March 2019, Paul Gyambibi of Hartford was arrested in Winhall for intent to sell heroin in Manchester, Vermont.

In July 2020, Luis Luna and Edwin Martinez of Hartford and Samuel Fuller of Barton were sentenced in federal court for conspiracy to sell fentanyl.

The latter case provides a telling, succinct explanation by U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan: “As this case demonstrates, we are working hard to root out long time drug traffickers in Vermont and from source cities like Hartford, Connecticut.”

Why are Hartford drug dealers targeting Vermont? A reading of police and media reports suggests at least three reasons: Gangs, greed and guns.

Gangs, working together

From the 2019 National Drug Threat Assessment: “The gangs involved in drug trafficking often establish and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with other gangs. Among the nationally organized gangs, affiliates of the Bloods have been active in cities such as Hartford, Connecticut, and Fitchburg, Massachusetts. In May 2018, 10 alleged members and associates of the Almighty Latin Kings Nation were indicted for the distribution of heroin, fentanyl, and crack cocaine in Hartford, Connecticut.”

“There’s so much money to be made off the drugs, that you’ll see gangs from out of state that typically won’t get along,” Vermont State Police Detective Sgt. Christopher Lora said in an August, 2019 Keene Sentinel report. “ … But in the state of Vermont, the profits are so lucrative that they actually kind of have an agreement where — ‘You take this town or you take this part of town, and we’re good, and everybody’s making money.’”

Profits are so lucrative in Vermont because of two basic principles of economics: 1) there’s less competition, which allows the sellers to charge more, and 2) Vermont is at the end of the U.S. supply chain.

“They can make more by selling it in areas with less supply generally,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Doyle said in the 8/2019 Keene Sentinel. Vermont is connected to Hartford and Springfield Mass. (another large hub) by I-91, making the Brattleboro area particularly vulnerable to these nearby hubs.

It’s axiomatic that the customer at the end of a supply chain pays more because the product takes longer to reach them and goes through more “middle-men” — whether the product is heating oil or heroin. When the product is legal, government regulation may restrain supply chain overcharging and greed. But Vermont’s drug addicts are at the dubious mercy of the dealers.

Gangs, in violent competition

That’s where the guns come in. The 2019 Drug Threat Assessment laconically notes “gun violence caused by turf wars fought for lucrative drug-trafficking territories.” Connecticut is a gun control state where legal ownership requires a permit. Gangs avoid this problem by looking north to states without gun purchase permit laws — such as Vermont. Many media reports show southern Vermont gangs selling drugs in exchange for guns, which are then reported as “stolen.” It’s not known whether the loaded, reportedly stolen pistol in Harvey’s possession was part of such a transaction.

In 2019, more illegally obtained guns in Connecticut were traced to Vermont (20) than any other New England state except Maine (23). Heavily populated gun-control states like Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York all had fewer.

And finally, Vermont has in some ways become less aggressive in drug arrests and prosecutions.  This July, Bennington police paid $30,000 to settle a racial profiling lawsuit brought by the ACLU is which Shamel Alexander was arrested for drug possession in 2013, after police stopped the cab in which he was riding. Drugs were seized, the arrest was made, but the charges were later dropped in connection with the ACLU lawsuit. Also, Chittenden County prosecutor Sarah George announced in 2018 she will not prosecute some drug crimes. Bills to decriminalize possession of “hard drugs” have been introduced into the Vermont Legislature, and lawmakers and interest groups have been pushing hard to “decarcerate” inmates of color, charging systemic racial injustice.

(Judging by photos and the ethnic-sounding names of some gangs, it might be mistakenly assumed that only ethnically Hispanic or black gangs are involved in drug-dealing. The all-white Aryan Brotherhood is also listed as a major drug dealer — although apparently not in Vermont.)

It’s one thing for police and media to point to a source of Vermont’s drug problem. It’s another for something to be done to stop it. Time will tell if the Vermont Legislature and law enforcement community take extra measures to stop out-of-state drug traffickers from doing business in the Green Mountain State.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Image courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

20 thoughts on “Hartford, Connecticut a hub for Vermont illegal drugs

  1. Lock Them Up ?

    There is 15 million people in New England
    Maine, Vermont. NH, MA, RI, CT
    and a few trillion more in NY & NJ
    100’s of thousands are hard up an desperate and live within a few hours drive on VT.
    No way can VT afford to arrest and jail even a fraction of them ?

    The flower children handcuffing the cops sure isn’t helping but how far should a police state go before it’s overkill harassment of normal people ? They can built Bat Caves and set up plate readers and super computers to monitor highways but there is no way to search every UPS, FEDEX & USPS, Amtrak, Greyhound vehicle crossing the state line.

    US Boarder with Mexico can’t be secured.

    The post WW2 American Dream fantasy is a freak show.

    Comedian George Carlin summed it up.
    ” They call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it “

  2. for a long time I’ve thought we need signs that say, you enter Vermont dealing drugs? We’re going to hunt you down.

    Instead we get quarantine messages. Covid messages, Keep your phone down, etc.

    While they have some merit, they don’t cut to a serious problem in our state.

  3. Our so called prosecutors seem to be just chicken sh, (finger slipped)
    unwilling to prosecute anything that is not easy.
    And Judges who are unwilling to go beyond ‘do-gooder” so called ‘rehab” sentences.
    Courts months and more behind in hearing cases of every kind.

    Totally unwilling to tackle this obvious and documented drug trade

    This is why Vermont is so welcoming for travelling drug dealers, and their local allies

  4. Sounds like the society Generation Fail created needs an overhaul if the young are self destructing both in VT and Hartford CT. It’s evident spoiled old people born on 3rd base have supported public policies that have failed the children. Prisons and grave yards are full of Millennial’s and old people still cling to what isn’t working as they support the status quo and stuff their own pockets while their children and grandchildren crash & burn.

    • Very true John Grady..
      Do you know that there is tremendous anger today at the Boomer generation?
      Elderly people are being attacked in great numbers today in places like NYC, Portland and Seattle..(failed Blue areas largely) and the reason is just exactly why you said.

      WE, all of the generations that came after them, our entire lives have gone down and down by the decade because of the failed policies they have put upon us. AND then, to make matters even worse. many of them like Bernie Sanders won’t even shut up, retire and stop the train wreck!!
      THEY lived through a wonderful era in America and then destroyed what created that wonderful era they enjoyed- for all the rest of us.

      So although attacking these older folks is certainly wrong, I totally understand the sentiment behind this Anti-Boomer movement.

      There is literally NO Path forward, Upward or OUT for millions of young people today and this right here is why many of them are killing themselves with drugs.
      This is why our birth rates are declining.
      This is why people are so opposed to immigration.
      WE are not being taken care of.. WE who own the country and built it. WE THE PEOPLE. The Legal Citizens.. so what a slap in the face to continue to see new arrivals come and be set up on our tax dollars when there is such suffering of our own.

      People take drugs to escape and to numb pain.
      This is a sign of despair.
      It’s a sign of a failed society.
      And to do nothing.. well how inhumane is that?
      We lose about 70,000 people a year to drug overdoses and to not clean up this very obvious crisis is a crime against humanity!
      THIS is why I am disgusted over this Covid hysteria.
      What about the 70,000 people we lose A YEAR to drugs, largely YOUNG People that were **FAILED IN EDUCATION!!**
      What about them??

      • Not Baby Boomers
        Nancy Pelosi
        Mitch McConnell
        Newt Gingrich
        Jack Kemp
        Bernie Sanders
        Joke Biden
        Alan Greenspan
        Charlie Manson
        Paul Volcker

        and many more so the boomer name fails the sniff test considering 99% of boomers didn’t have any political power, why blame them all when it’s evident SOME of the Silent Generation now in their mid to late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s played a massive roll in pillaging and plunder this country and trashing the planet with the help of SOME of the boomers ?

        Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump all boomers. They had lots of help from some of the Silent Generation freaks in both parties.

        “Bernard Sanders (born September 8, 1941) ”

        Pearl Harbor happened after he was born.
        The baby boom started after the war.

        Blue Collar Boomer John

        add in the suicides with the drug deaths, the fatal shootings and some car wrecks are suicides and we are over 100,000 a year ?

        Us tale end boomers and younger people have been told to shut up by the arrogant narcissist of the ME Generation I’ve also labeled Generation Fail mostly made up of the people who where teenagers in the 1950’s & 60’s.

          • We’ve got dirt bags all sides don’t we?

            There are so many good people that ran for office in Vermont. Solid people with common sense. Almost universally they did not get elected.

            When I ran people asked, how come you aren’t sending out massive flyers, advertising…going door to door ( I didn’t know that was essential, I thought people watched debates, etc)

            That takes some serious money.

            No my contender, she did go door to door. I heard that and I’m wondering, why would somebody want the position soo badly? Massive amounts of money in flyers sent, paid for by PAC’s. Advertising done, like never saw before, paid for by PAC’s and Lobbyists. Surely she got some establishment money too and individuals. Certainly had the blessings of the Democratic party and tag teamed with an incumbent. She was pretty well off financially, I’ve never begrudged anyone being successful, more power to you.

            Find out after her husband was President/CFO…something like that of Sun Common, a company totally enriched of the Vermont tax payer dollar.

            Kinda makes a bit more sense on why she so desperately wanted to be a representative huh?

            Then look what happened to two political officials that “stepped out” of the political power structure.

            Cythia Browning and John Rodgers. While they play for another team they are solid representatives that I’d venture to say have a better understanding of economics and our constitution than most. Being well known, successful and in service many years…

            Well they are out!!!!

            It matters not even which team you play for, those in establishment on both sides, like it just the way it is….that’s why in DC…what 93% voted for Biden, I mean seriously, there have to be some Republican in DC huh? But they didn’t vote for Trump…..

            We need to jump the rut, pull the wheel and get out this deep mud rut, it’s doing us no good. Love your commentary….

          • https://www.amazon.com/Revenge-Latchkey-Kids-Illustrated-Surviving/dp/0761107452

            “It would be simple to dismiss Rall as a whiner if he weren’t so right all the time. Furthermore, at the risk of sounding like one of his cartoons, Rall performs a vital social function: he presents a point of view other than that of the demographic 800-pound gorilla, the baby boomer. Rall has no pity for that generation, which he sees as self-indulgent, hypocritical, and well, evil.”

            Old book and he also missed the fact the Silent Generation lead the charge.

        • I understand what you mean John, I did forget about that silent generation.

          I don’t think these thugs that clunk an old person over the head with a brick much care for these details though.
          The overall point is that these ideas might have been great ideas 50 years ago on paper, but as we sit here today on the verge of civil war, a failed election and just a boatload of flat out crisis, it’s really clear the ideas didn’t work!

          And now we are awash in off the charts corruption, propaganda.
          We cannot simply vote our way out of what is not working because there is plenty of money to be made off of failure and plenty of crooks that work to keep us in it.
          So here we are..
          It makes me sick to see such despair though..
          Quite frankly, I have no idea how these politicians sleep at night.
          They obviously have no conscience.

          • Thank You for saying oh yeah, those people also. It’s one of my pet peeves the Silents get off the hook.

            I would guess most of the US Senate leadership in the 20th Century have been from the Silent Generation.

            They sleep just fine. They are arrogant narcissists.

  5. Some missing context:
    Out of the 1423 traced firearms in CT in 2019, 422 were traced WITHIN the borders of CT.
    In fact, 390 firearms from outside New England were recovered in CT in 2019 alone.
    More guns were recovered in CT from Virginia (27), North Carolina (32), South Carolina (45), Georgia (55), Florida (51), and 34 from TEXAS, over EIGHTEEN HUNDRED MILES AWAY, than from Vermont!
    Another fact is what the ATF calls “time to crime,” which in 2019 is listed at an average of 12.90.
    That means, 633 of those recovered guns in CT in 2019 had been stolen and in interstate travel for over a DECADE.
    Pulling data points from a single ATF report can’t “prove” anything even with detailed analysis.
    Less than 1.5% of firearms recovered in CT originated from Vermont, 98.5% came from elsewhere, many from over a thousand miles away.

    • You know well this information and research you do would never see the light on any other news site within our state. The work you guys do is invaluable.

      There is more meat in this article and commentary than the political PAC known as Vt Digger could find in a life time, they’ll be searching for the truth for a long time, it’s tough to find when your main product is propaganda.

      Well done

    • Mr. DePino: One thing that TNR lacks is regular stories informing a wider audience of RKBK issues and historical context. As a conservative site TNR accepts stories from the public according to guidelines. I would like to see more from the RKBK community. Putting this out there for anyone informed of RKBK issues. And thank you for your former leadership of Gun Owners of VT and running for office sir.

  6. Thank you TNR for reporting on this, finally someone is.
    This situation touches the lives of thousands of our people up here. We’ve lost more than I could count and many of them are young people.
    This is our future here that is getting wiped out one young death at a time. (which is exactly the plan)

    I’ll add more to the story to put more meat on the bone because people really need to understand this big picture.

    I’ve been listening to Boston Radio’s Howie Carr on my radio for over 20 year now and he talks about this topic openly very often.. so his listeners have a pretty good grasp on things in addition to what we know from living within this.
    Massachusetts has a lot of illegal aliens, so does CT and NJ, NY, all of them.

    This link alone says 500K and I know this is true because all you have to do is talk to people that work for the state that pay the bills on these people and work for agencies, non-profits, and they have a pretty good idea on the numbers..
    The Drug trade, and it is one, this is essentially like an underground welfare system for all these Illegals, largely Dominicans actually that get into dealing drugs, this is what these people do to make a living. This is supported by the state because this keeps all these people that are illegal off the books, off of the welfare programs. This is what Sanctuary policies are all about. It’s about protecting this entire machine that they have built.
    Howie Carr has often reported on their crooked Judges down there, such as Judge Feeley that lets these drug dealers off saying things like “He was just trying to feed his family..”
    If you follow this all closely, they actually tell you what is going on. This is an open secret to those that listen.

    This stuff is a big deal down there and why Howie talks about it a lot because this right here is what is contributing to a whole lot of the crime down there.. this brings in gangs and it’s just a mess. THIS is what has played a huge part of destroying that state. Because it sure was not like this.
    This is what that other case is all about with that woman Judge that they arrested, she was doing this too and her case is making it’s way through the system. She was letting these people off too.
    Letting them out the back door to hide them from the waiting ICE officers trying to clean this crisis up.

    This is very ugly stuff that needs to be fully revealed to the masses..
    Drugs pour like a river into NH and Vermont FROM Mass, CT and all those states south of us because THIS is what is going on down there.. we are a big part of their customer base up here!

    You really don’t understand this entire picture unless you understand the component with the illegals and the crooked courts and elected “Leadership” that turn a blind eye to this because it all benefits them! (again, we get into the topic of more corruption and bought and paid off elected people).

    THEN you open this up and understand this is a national situation..and it’s about China (the fetanyl comes from China via Mexico) and this is just another way they are attacking our people and country. (read about their opium wars, they are doing what was done to them).

    Jeff Sessions was in NH twice talking to us about this.
    One of the things he was very hard and good on was immigration, and cleaning out the illegals because to take care of THAT is to then clean up our drug crisis!!
    Do you understand all of this?
    We need to get the root of the crisis and solve that, and then the rest of it will sort itself out.
    (he also was excellent in dealing with the gang problem which is really para-military groups often, and they are tied in with BLM btw)

    So we are looking at a big thing here that is many layers deep.
    When we desire to shut the border and clean up the situation with Illegals, people have got to understand that this is what needs to happen to clean up our drug problems.
    And, last thing.
    I can tell ya this, Massachusetts has turned into quite a dangerous place.
    The Massachusetts of my youth is long gone.
    It will only be a matter of time for us up here to see that same level of extremely heinous crime too if we don’t get this dealt with.. this is not just about NH and VT, it’s about the entire system.
    AND this is why people like me think that defunding the police is INSANE.
    If you know what was really going on out there, that is the last thing you’d want to do!!

    • You are amazing, thank you. When I went to family funeral in Manchester, NH, the area has changed heavily with regard to drugs and crime. What was amazing was the group of young men hanging out at a gas station late at night. Gangs in plain site. I know NH has also been savaged, probably much more so with drugs.

      The people who turn a blind eye to this are perhaps even worse. Vermont in 2014 was the leading state per capita for addicted births, not sure where we stand now. Think about that a baby born addicted to crack, heroin, fentanyl, that a hard start to life the physical pain, societal/financial and family break down is massive.

      China knows this well from the opium wars and Britain. Yes make no mistake they know,well and are purposely bringing this in through Mexico. The opium wars brought China to their knees, they know it will crush a country.
      sun Tzu……. You take over, crush your enemies without ever firing a bullet, is the highest art form of war.

  7. Affordability – School funding – Drugs

    Vermont’s underlying problems that never seem to be addressed.

    Great article Guy…great article.

    We also have a state that’s pretty easy going on drug dealers, we have a welfare system so lucrative it brings people from out of state to set up home in Vermont. Then…..they provide safe harbor for their boyfriend drug runners.

    Want to know why a wonderful little town like Newport has big city crimes? In the heaven of the North East Kingdom? Here’s the answer. We have land lords advertising in Mass for tenants.

    • Neil, Vermont is a Sanctuary State.. that is a Welcome Mat for a whole lot of bad people.
      There are good ones yes, but there are a whole lot of what the article describes too.
      Is it all really worth it?

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