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PRESS RELEASE: Drug Dealer From Brooklyn, New York Sentenced in Federal Court to Over Nine Years Imprisonment for Distributing Heroin and Crack Cocaine in Rutland County

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Vermont
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 31, 2016

Drug Dealer From Brooklyn, New York Sentenced in Federal Court to Over Nine Years Imprisonment for Distributing Heroin and Crack Cocaine in Rutland County

The United States Attorney for the District of Vermont, Eric Miller, announced today that Raymond Fernandez, 33, of Brooklyn, Vermont was sentenced to nine years and two months imprisonment by Chief Judge Christina Reiss in United States District Court in Burlington. Fernandez had previously pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine. In addition to the term of imprisonment, Chief Judge Reiss sentenced Fernandez to eight years of supervised release, which will begin when he finishes his prison term.

According to court records, Raymond Fernandez was one of the leaders of the Gritty Gang from Brooklyn, New York. The Gritty Gang is not a gang in the common usage of the word but a group of associates and relatives from the Albany Projects of Brooklyn, who often worked together to bring heroin and crack cocaine to Rutland County to distribute. The name originated from a rap group by that name that some of these individuals had formed.

According to court records the common scheme of this conspiracy was to use young women drug addicts, often from Rutland County, to body pack heroin and crack cocaine from Brooklyn, New York to Rutland County. These woman, along with other addicts from the Rutland area, distributed many of these drugs in Rutland County for Fernandez and his Brooklyn based associates. One female addict testified that Fernandez once hit her because she used some of Fernandez’ drugs she was holding for him.

According to court records, between late 2012 and mid-2014, Fernandez was involved in bringing over 400 grams of crack cocaine to the Rutland area and over 250 grams of heroin. The Court also found there was sufficient evidence to conclude that when one of Fernandez’ Brooklyn coconspirators broke off from Fernandez and started selling drugs in Rutland County independently from Fernandez, Fernandez stabbed him on the streets of Brooklyn.

The Government also alleged, and the Court found, that in early 2014 Fernandez participated in a prostitution organization in New York City, which involved bringing young women addicts from the Rutland Vermont area to New York City where they would engage in prostitution for Fernandez’ profit. The Government alleged in its sentencing memorandum:

When one of these girls reached out to her family in March 2014, and thereby caused the FBI to start investigating, the defendant assaulted this woman and feigned shooting her up with rat poison. This young woman thought she was going to die.

In support of its sentencing recommendation, the Government also stated:

It is difficult to quantify the amount of havoc and destruction wrought by the defendant’s drug dealings. It cannot be disputed, however, that it was significant given the quantities of heroin and crack cocaine involved here. There can be no question that the defendant, in lining his own pockets, is, in part, responsible for assisting in the shattering of the lives of drug addicts and their families.

This investigation was initiated in early 2015, when federal, state, and local law enforcement focused significant resources on dismantling this large drug trafficking organization which brought significant amounts of heroin and crack cocaine from the Brooklyn, New York area to Rutland County. This extensive investigation resulted in federal charges and convictions for over 30 individuals from Brooklyn, New York and Vermont. All but two individuals have pled guilty and most all have been sentenced. U.S. Attorney Eric Miller stated, “the success of this operation is the direct result of the hard and dedicated work of a team of law enforcement agents from the Vermont State Police Drug Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Rutland City Police.”

The United States is represented in this matter by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Perella. Fernandez is represented by Chandler Mattson, Esq. of Stowe, Vermont.

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