Thursday January 17, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- A woman identified in court documents as the mother of alleged killer Frank Caraballo’s child was indicted in federal court Wednesday for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and other drugs.

According to documents filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, Pamela Zygmont "knowingly and willfully conspired with others, including Frank Caraballo, to distribute cocaine and cocaine base, Schedule II controlled substances, and heroin ...."

On Wednesday, Zygmont, 28, of Southampton, Mass., pleaded not guilty in federal court in Rutland. She was released on personal recognizance.

Caraballo stands accused of killing Melissa Barratt on July, 29, 2011, and leaving her body on East West Road in Dummerston.

According to documents filed in Windham Superior Court Criminal Division, prior to her death, Caraballo accused Barratt of stealing drugs from him. A friend of Barratt’s told police she and Barratt were held at gunpoint while Caraballo awaited instructions from a woman he referred to as "the boss" as to whether he was going to kill them. Following a phone call, Caraballo forced Barratt at gunpoint into a vehicle that was driven by Joshua Makhanda-Lopez.

State charges against Caraballo were dropped after the federal government took over the case. He has been indicted on four counts related to Barratt’s death -- one for being a felon in possession of firearms, one for using a Desert Eagle .357 in furtherance of a conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine, a third for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and a fourth for killing Barratt.

Caraballo is currently serving 16 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in September 2012 to distributing crack cocaine.

He was most recently in court on Dec. 19 for a scheduling conference. Caraballo will face life in prison without the possibility of release if found guilty during a trial, which has yet to be scheduled.

Following the Dec. 19 hearing, neither Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Van De Graaf nor Caraballo’s attorney, Mark Kaplan, would discuss whether the identity of "the boss" has been determined.

When he was arrested following the death of Barratt, Caraballo told police he had spent the night of July 28, 2011, at the home of his child’s mother, later identified as Zygmont. Caraballo also told police that he had had a sexual relationship with Barratt.

Makhanda-Lopez has pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to distribute drugs and possession of a firearm in connection with drug distribution. He was scheduled to be sentenced this month, but the sentencing was postponed.