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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

9 Orleans/Essex county residents facing federal drug conspiracy charges

NEWPORT — A federal grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging ten individuals with conspiring to distribute fentanyl and cocaine base between February 2022 and August 5, 2022.

The indictment includes nine additional counts alleging distributions or intended distributions of fentanyl by specific individuals among the defendants.

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The lead defendant, Juan Carlos Ortiz, 28, of Springfield, Massachusetts, is already in federal custody following his arrest on a prior federal drug case in August.

The other defendants include:

Clair Deslandes, 64, Island Pond

Jeremy Allin, 51, Lunenburg

Hayley McDonald, 25, Derby

Margaret Radford, 53, Newport Center

Mary Rhodes, 45, North Troy

Loretta Poquette, 47, Norton

Ronald Braun, 43, Lowell

Jessica Ward 44, Lowell

Angela Birk 41, Newport

If convicted of the charged offenses, the defendants would each face a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and up to a $1 million fine.

The charges in the indictment follow an investigation conducted by multiple state and federal agencies led by the Northern Vermont Drug Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

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