A 21-year-old New York City man was sentenced yesterday to 75 months in prison on charges of dealing heroin in Rutland. Federal prosecutors spent two years unraveling his six-person distribution ring.
Joshua Rose trafficked between 400 and 700 grams of heroin from New York to Rutland in 2012, U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin said. Rose was arrested by New York police in September 2012 with 100 grams of heroin that was bound for Rutland, authorities said.
A week before the arrest, Rutland resident David C. Blanchard III fatally overdosed on heroin sold by Rose's network.
For several months afterward, two of Rose's New York-based lieutenants, Devon Cruz, 29, and Charles Hercules, 23, continued to run the operation, authorities said. According to prosecutors, they used several heroin addicts in Rutland as middle men.
Federal and state law enforcement authorities used confidential informants to buy heroin from two of those middle men, who were subsequently arrested, authorities said. Rose, Cruz, Hercules and three Rutland addicts who worked for them have all pleaded guilty to charges of participating in the distribution ring.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Burlington has led a concerted push for the past three years to investigate drug sales in Rutland. In a brief interview, Coffin said the Rose case was among the "most significant" his office had pursued in that city.
"The overdose death of David Blanchard is a tragedy," Coffin said in a prepared statement. "The distribution of heroin devastates families and communities, and too often has lethal consequences, as it did in this case."
Rose pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin. Prosecutors asked for a 10-year sentence, while Rose's attorneys asked Judge Christina Reiss to sentence him to 60 months.
Rose's attorney, Karen Shingler, could not immediately be reached for comment.