BRATTLEBORO -- The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Vermont has indicted another suspected member of a cocaine distribution ring whose central figure has been accused of killing a Brattleboro woman in July 2011.
According to documents filed in federal court in Rutland, Kirstin A. Waterman, 22, of Brattleboro, conspired with Frank Caraballo and others to distribute cocaine and cocaine base between March and July 2011.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office said Waterman was arraigned on Tuesday and is being held pending the resolution of an arrest warrant that was issued against her by the Windham Superior Court Criminal Division for her failure to appear in court in Brattleboro on unrelated charges.
Once that issue has been resolved, he said, Waterman will be released but has to report directly into a drug rehabilitation program.
During her arraignment, the U.S. Attorney's Office noted that Waterman has a child with Caraballo's half-brother, Angel Figueroa, 23, of Brattleboro, who is being held on charges filed against him in Brattleboro.
Locally, Waterman and Figueroa have been accused of possession of marijuana after they were stopped on I-91 on Dec. 16, 2012, by the Vermont State Police. At just past 2 a.m., police dispatch was notified that the Massachusetts State Police were pursuing a vehicle heading towards Vermont, but had cut off the chase after the vehicle crossed into the Green Mountain State.
Shortly thereafter, the Brattleboro Police Department stopped the vehicle at the Outlet Center at Exit 1, where officers detected the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. Officers also noted a 1-month-old child in a child seat behind the driver.
Prior to talking with the occupants of the vehicle, Vermont State Trooper Sgt. Christopher Buckley spoke with a trooper from Massachusetts who told him during the pursuit objects were thrown from the vehicle. One of the items found by troopers was a 9mm pistol with an obliterated serial number.
During an on-scene interview, Waterman admitted to throwing out of the vehicle approximately one pound of marijuana. She also told troopers there was marijuana in the glove box. Figueroa refused to speak with the troopers. The vehicle was impounded, a search warrant applied for and granted, and a little less than a half ounce of marijuana was found in the glove box.
In addition to the possession of marijuana charges, Figueroa has also been charged with domestic assault, possession of cocaine and violation of conditions of release. He is being held on bail. There are no charges currently pending against him in federal court.
On July 29, 2011, police investigated the discovery of a body off of East West Road in Dummerston. Following an investigation, Caraballo was arrested and charged with the murder of Melissa Barratt, 31, of Brattleboro. According to court documents, Caraballo killed Barratt because he suspected her of stealing drugs from him.
He is scheduled to go on trial in Rutland in September. Caraballo, 31, formerly of Holyoke, Mass., is currently serving 16 years in prison for distributing cocaine.
A number of other people have been arrested and charged as co-conspirators in the distribution of cocaine. They include Thomas Parrott, of Bellows Falls, Douglas Radcliffe, of Bennington, and Pamela Zygmont, of Southampton, Mass., who is the mother of Caraballo's child.
In addition, Joshua Makhanda Lopez has reached a plea agreement for his role in the death of Barratt. According to court documents, he drove the vehicle that Caraballo used to transport Barratt to Dummerston before shooting her in the head. The details of his plea agreement have been sealed, as have a number of other documents to protect the identities of witnesses who might be called to testify during Caraballo's trial.
Though Caraballo's defense team is asking the court to release the names of the witnesses, the U.S. Attorney's Office has contended doing so could out them in harm's way.
The U.S. Attorney's Office has also indicated that there is a gang involved in the drug distribution. In documents filed with the Zygmont case, the U.S. Attorney noted that "There are co-conspirators who have not been indicted and there is a concern that members of the conspiracy are affiliated with gangs in the Holyoke/Springfield, Massachusetts, area."
Bob Audette can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 802-254-2311, ext. 160. Follow Bob on Twitter @audette.reformer.