Wednesday drug bust results in arrests

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Editor's Note: This story includes information not previously published in the two prior stories about the Central Street drug bust.

BRATTLEBORO — At least four Brattleboro people are in federal custody after a drug raid on a Central Street apartment on Wednesday.

According to court documents, Rachael Gauthier, 48, was charged with three counts, one of distributing heroin and two of distributing cocaine; Justine Pond, 29, was charged with two counts of distributing fentanyl; Jocelyn Pond, 29, was charged with one count of distributing fentanyl; and Rory Jackson, 31, was charged with one count of distributing heroin.

One name was redacted from the grand jury indictment. That person was charged with two counts of distributing fentanyl and one count of distributing heroin. It is unknown if that fifth person is also in federal custody.

According to affidavits filed by Brandon Hope, a Special Agent with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, the arrests were made with the help of a confidential informant who made a number of controlled purchases from the Pond sisters and Gauthier. No affidavit was filed describing Jackson's activities.

The investigation apparently began May 1, 2018, after a Vermont State Trooper arranged for a confidential source to purchase heroin from June Bostwick, 56, of Brattleboro. The source has convictions for driving a vehicle with a criminally suspended license and resisting arrest and assisted investigators in exchange for money, wrote Hope. "The CS was cooperating with law enforcement for monetary compensation," notes the affidavit.

Hope noted that the source was introduced to Bostwick in the fall of 2017 by Gauthier. The source told detectives he had purchased heroin and crack cocaine from Bostwick on several occasions between December 2017 and March 2018. On May 1, the source went to 48 Central St. to purchase heroin from Bostwick, wrote Hope. During a visit to the apartment, the source allegedly received the drugs from Gauthier.

There are no federal court filings listed for Bostwick at this time.

"Gauthier was known to [Vermont State Police] to be a distributor of heroin and crack cocaine in the Brattleboro ... area," wrote Hope, and had previously been arrested for selling heroin on two occasions from the same location. "According to several sources, Gauthier is the primary tenant of the residence ... and often allowed other individuals to sell narcotics out of the residence."

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The source made controlled purchases of illegal drugs from Gauthier on July 2, 2018 and from Justine Pond on Sept. 25, 2018.

The source told detectives that he has known Justine Pond for more than 10 years and that she has been selling narcotics since the fall of 2017. The source told investigators he had purchased heroin from Justine Pond more than 20 times and that he spoke with her on a daily basis.

"Pond constantly told the [source] that she had heroin to sell," wrote Hope.

On Sept. 24, the Vermont State Police received a warrant to record Justine Pond's conversations at her home, her place of employment "or any other location where she might be found, and the voices of any other person(s) that are inadvertently or purposely present during the conversations."

On Sept. 25, the source purchased $80 of heroin from Justine Pond, who was at her residence at 48 Central St. "Pond exited the residence and handed the CS a bundle of heroin," wrote Hope.

The source again purchased heroin from Justine Pond on Oct. 2, noted Hope. At that time, wrote Hope, the source was approached by Bruce Gauthier, the husband of Rachael Gauthier, and was told "he could sell [the source] heroin at a good price."

The affidavit filed by Hope on Thursday does not state whether Bruce Gauthier is also under investigation.

The source also purchased heroin from Jocelyn Pond on May 30, 2018 at the Central Street apartment. The source told detectives that over the past five months he had made approximately 10 purchases of drugs from her.

At least four of the people arrested charged on Thursday were also arrested on Dec. 13, 2018, after an investigation into an increase in drug overdoses in the region. In addition to those listed above, the Vermont Drug Task Force also arrested Dalton Kissell, 28, Beth Davis, 41, Sarah Cassell, 31, Peter Garrett, 31, and Michelle Carrasquillo.

Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 151, or raudette@reformer.com.


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