Federal prosecutors say a drug house was operating in Lyndon Center just a short walk from two schools, athletic fields and an iconic pig sculpture.
The allegations were part of a third superseding indictment filed Thursday afternoon in connection with the investigation into the homicide of Waterford resident Michael J. Pimental.
U.S. District Court
The 16 count indictment alleging multiple new gun and drug charges was filed against Pimental’s girlfriend Krystal Whitcomb, 27, her father Shawn Whitcomb, 51, of Concord, Michael “Moe” Hayes, 36, of Lyndonville and a fourth suspect identified as John Welch.
The indictment also names two other defendants whose names have been redacted from the indictment.
Count 16 of the indictment accuses the unnamed defendants of using and selling drugs in an apartment at 1372 Back Center Center Road in Lyndon.
“The defendants controlled a place, that is, 1372 Back Center Road, Apt. 2 in Lyndon, Vermont, as lessees or occupants, and knowingly and intentionally made available for use such a place for the purpose of unlawfully storing, distributing and using controlled substances,” reads the indictment in U.S. District Court in Burlington .
1372 Back Center Road abuts a small park that is home to Lyndon’s famed “Florentine Pig” fountain at the corner of Back Center Road and Center Street in Lyndon Center.
Lyndon Institute, The Thaddeus Stevens School, school dorms and a host of student athletic fields are less than a tenth of a mile away.
State police executed a search warrant at 1372 Back Center Road in the fall of 2018 as part of the Pimental homicide investigation.
Pimental, 37, was found dead off Victory Road in Concord on Oct. 14. He had been shot multiple times and the state medical examiner has ruled his death a homicide.
No one has been charged criminally in connection with the Pimental shooting but government officials say in court documents that the Whitcombs were involved.
“Both Krystal and Shawn were involved in the death of Michael Pimental,” wrote Christina E. Nolan, United States Attorney for the District of Vermont, in a motion opposing the release of Whitcombs who are being held on federal gun and drug charges following an investigation by the Vermont Drug Task Force targeting them and Pimental.
Both Krystal Whitcomb and Shawn Whitcomb were questioned by state police as part of the homicide investigation and prosecutors say the Whitcombs remain “persons of interest” in the case. Both pleaded not guilty to the drug and gun charges.
Hayes is being charged federally for the illegal purchase of gun ammunition at the Littleton Walmart store and transporting that ammunition back across state lines with Krystal Whitcomb.
New Hampshire authorities say Hayes was also found driving Pimental’s Cadillac Escalade in Grafton County with Krystal Whitcomb in the passenger seat on the same day Pimental’s body was found. Federal prosecutors also said blood evidence from Michael Pimental was found in the back of the Cadillac and that Krystal Whitcomb told police that Pimental had been abusing her and that he had been shot to death in their Waterford home after she had gone to her father seeking help.
Prosecutors have connected the federal charge against Whitcomb and Hayes to the ongoing Pimental homicide investigation being conducted by the Vermont State Police.
“The possession of ammunition charge against Hayes is a serious charge on its own,” wrote Nolan in her motion for detention filed against Hayes. “It also relates to the ongoing homicide investigation into the death of Michael Pimental.”
Federal authorities say there are multiple unindicted co-conspirators being investigated in connection with the Pimental homicide including Hayes and John E. Welch, 33, of North Haverhill, N.H.
Federal prosecutors say there is evidence linking Welch to the handgun used in the fatal shooting of Pimental. Welch has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of possession of a 9-mm handgun while being addicted to a controlled substance. Investigators say Welch buried the gun and others in a field in New Hampshire.