NEWPORT — Three Orleans County residents are facing federal criminal charges following a sweep by federal, county and local law enforcement on Friday.
Kimberly Lindner, 50, of Newport City and Morgan H. Cleveland, 40, of Newport Center were lodged at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington.
Marcus Demers, 36, of Newport Center was taken to the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans Town.
U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and Border Patrol, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Vermont Drug Task Force, the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department and Newport City Police fanned out over the region Friday morning to try to locate the wanted suspects.
Lindner faces a four-count federal indictment, which includes one charge of knowingly and intentionally providing 269 West Main St. in Newport as a place for the unlawful storing, distributing and using of controlled substances in November 2020, records show.
Lindner, who was found at home, also is facing 3 counts of knowingly and intentionally distributing fentanyl on April 7, April 20 and May 11, records show.
The Lindner residence was connected also in the aftermath of a high-profile drug-related shooting near Wendy’s restaurant in Newport on Nov. 30, 2020, records show.
Demers, who lives in Vermont 105, faces a separate five-count indictment for knowingly and intentionally distributing crack cocaine between Feb. 26, 2020, and April 7 of this year, according to records in U.S. District Court.
A federal grand jury in Burlington returned the indictments against Lindner and Demers on May 27, records show. They were sealed until after the arrests were made.
Cleveland is charged with violating at least 3 terms of her supervised release from when she was sentenced in January in a federal drug case. Cleveland pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of possession of crack cocaine in November 2020 and was sentenced to time served.
Chief Federal Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford also placed her under supervised release for one year. but by late March reports began to surface about Cleveland violating of her conditions, court records show.
Cleveland was told at sentencing to refrain from drug use, but urine tests on April 5 and April 26 confirmed the positive presence of cocaine, records show.
She also was under orders to remain in contact with her probation officer, but Cleveland failed to return multiple messages left for her, court records show.
The third violation centers on a requirement that Cleveland participate in substance abuse treatment and testing. Since about March 25, Cleveland has failed to participate in outpatient substance abuse treatment and also failed to provide urine samples on April 29 and May 13, the U.S. Probation Office reported.
All three are expected to appear in U.S. District Court in Burlington on Monday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy Fuller has filed motions seeking the detention of both Lindner and Demers — as a danger to themselves and to the community.
Lindner “is an active user of controlled substances and by her own admission, she uses both crack cocaine and fentanyl daily,” Fuller wrote.
She called Demers “an active user of controlled substances.”
Fuller said active drug users are usually unable to stop their drug use on their own, even when non-use and urinalysis testing are made conditions of their release.
“Active drug users without substantial wealth, like the defendant, will also often engage in criminal activity, including drug trafficking or property crimes, to obtain resources to obtain drugs for their use,” the veteran prosecutor wrote.
“This means there would be an ongoing risk to the public if the defendant were to be released” without first addressing their respective drug issues, Fuller said.
Authorities have said a group of out-of-state drug dealers was involved in a shooting on Nov. 30 near Wendy’s in Waterfront Plaza. Among those charged in the shooting is Jayquan “Jay” Flintroy, 26, of Hartford, Conn.
Flintroy is among at least four persons charged in connection with the federal drug case.
The victim of the shooting — Dante “Pops” Flowers Sr., 44, of Hartford, Conn. had been identified earlier by a confidential police source as the biggest narcotics source in Orleans County, the ATF said in court papers.
The informant also said the victim’s son, Dante “Fresh” Flowers Jr., 27, of Hartford, Conn. was considered the second biggest drug dealer in Orleans County, the ATF wrote at the time.
At Wendy’s the father and son Flowers got into an argument over drugs and Flintroy is believed to have fired a gunshot wounding the older Flowers in the left leg, court records show. A second shot lodged in the floorboard of the car that arrived at the restaurant with four men, records show.
A state judge has said the case appeared to be right out of Hollywood: a fight among Hartford, Conn. drug dealers that led to the shooting in the leg of one man, an armed invasion at Lindner’s Newport city home, a high-speed chase and a massive manhunt that was continuing for Flintroy, who also is known as “Uno.”
After the shooting Newport Police were called to 269 West Main Street by Lindner when the residence had been entered by the car full of suspects that were at the shooting, records show. The suspects only found Lindner and others, but soon left.
The two Flowers and Flintroy had become targets of a Vermont Drug Task Force investigation that started in 2019 concerning several people from Hartford, Conn. involved in distributing fentanyl, heroin and crack cocaine in both Orleans and Caledonia Counties, the ATF said in court papers late last year.