Police: 16 arrested during month-long NEK drug sweep

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/St. Johnsbury

NEWPORT — Authorities say a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional law enforcement effort has been focusing on drug trafficking in the areas of Newport and Saint Johnsbury.

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During the month-long operation conducted by federal, state, local, and county officers, and federal and state prosecutors, law enforcement arrested or charged 16 individuals, searched 3 residences, and seized approximately 700 bags of fentanyl and heroin, 100 grams of cocaine base, 2 firearms, and $4,000 in drug proceeds.

Those charged in federal court include:

Jen Thompson, 39, of Newport, Vermont, for maintaining a drug-involved premises and distribution of cocaine base.

Juliana Graves, 49, of Newport, Vermont, for possession with intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine base.

Elijah Wheeler-Watson, 23, of Clinton, Massachusetts, for possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and heroin.

Adis Djozo, 26, of Essex Junction, Vermont, for possession with intent to distribute heroin.

Alicia Parenteau, 36, of Newport, Vermont, for distribution of cocaine base.

Chakeshia Watts, 40, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, for maintaining a drug-involved premises.

Jerry Watts, 62, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, for maintaining a drug-involved premises.

Randy Devoid, 50, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, for distribution of cocaine base.

Shaquille Carter, 26, of New York, New York, for possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and heroin.

Christina Thompson, 42, of Lyndonville, Vermont, for distribution of cocaine base.

Morgan Cleveland, 39, of Newport, Vermont, for possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.

Those arrested on state warrants and violations include:

Soloman Little, 26, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, who was arrested and cited for fraud.
Christopher MacKay, 52, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, who was arrested on an extraditable warrant for violation of probation in Maine, and multiple failures to appear in Vermont court proceedings.

Mark Houston, 30, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, who was arrested twice in the same day for violating the conditions of his release by breaking curfew restrictions.

Michael Barry, 26, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, who was arrested for failure to appear in Vermont court proceedings.

Michelle Churchill, 34, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, who was arrested for violating conditions of furlough and returned to correctional custody with the Vermont Department of Corrections.
Defendant Carter is currently a fugitive.

Defendant Cleveland is at large. All other defendants were arrested during the operation.

“Today, as we did earlier this year in Brattleboro, we announce the results of a team effort by law enforcement to combat drug trafficking in one of the hardest hit areas of the state,” United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan said. “The Northeast Kingdom is suffering greatly under the weight of the drug crisis, and we deployed a sustained surge of enforcement resources to bring consequences to those selling deadly drugs in the area.”

Authorities say this operation stemmed from careful planning and collaboration by Vermont law enforcement at all levels.

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