According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Vermont, Frank Caraballo, 30, of Holyoke, Mass., must spend the rest of his life on supervised release after the 16-year sentence has been served.
However, Caraballo is also facing murder charges for shooting Melissa Barratt, 31, on July 29, 2011, along East-West Road in Dummerston.
He recently pleaded not guilty to charges that he was involved in a larger drug conspiracy and used a firearm in a drug distribution conspiracy to murder Barratt.
Windham County State's Attorney Tracy Shriver thanked the U.S. Attorney's Office for offering its assistance in investigating and prosecuting Caraballo.
"I am looking forward to working together on the pending homicide charge," she said.
Shriver also credited Deputy State's Attorney Steve Brown, who was appointed a special U.S. Assistant Attorney during the investigation, for his work on the case.
On Aug. 29, Caraballo was indicted for conspiracy to distribute heroin cocaine and crack cocaine from March to July 2011.
Caraballo was initially charged in State Court in Brattleboro with second degree murder but that case was dismissed without prejudice in light of the federal drug and firearms investigation.
According to Court documents filed in connection with
When Barratt did not return the drugs, Caraballo took her to Dummerston and shot her in the head.
The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
If Caraballo is convicted on the murder charge, as charged in the indictment, he faces a maximum of life imprisonment.
If he is convicted on the drug conspiracy charge, he is subject to a mandatory minimum of 10 years imprisonment, a maximum of life imprisonment, and up to a $10,000,000 fine.
If the United States files an information alleging that Caraballo has had at least two prior felony drug offenses, Caraballo could face a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.
This case is being jointly investigated by the Vermont State Police, the Southeast Vermont Drug Task Force, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.