Police

BURLINGTON — Another Newport woman involved in the distribution of crack cocaine was taken off the streets Thursday, federal authorities said.

Alicia R. Parenteau, 36, of Hill Street appeared briefly in federal court in Burlington on Thursday afternoon following her arrested by Newport Police and U.S. Marshals Service.

During a post arrest interview on Thursday, Parenteau told a Vermont Drug Task Force detective from Newport Police that she was a drug user, records show. Parenteau also said she has been selling drugs and that her kitchen had been used recently to cook cocaine into cocaine base, a court affidavit noted.

Parenteau is at least the third Newport area woman charged in recent weeks in U.S. District Court as part of a joint investigation by the Vermont Drug Task Force and the Department of Homeland Security into the sale of heroin and crack cocaine in Orleans County.

Julianna “Jules” Graves, 49, and Jennifer Thompson, 39, were charged about three weeks ago in a federal indictment.

The criminal complaint against Parenteau charges her with only one specific sale of cocaine base on July 17 in Newport to a confidential informant. The informant reported making several other drug buys in the previously six months from Parenteau, court records show.

The informant went to Parenteau’s home on Hill Street to make the buy, but the defendant asked for a ride to the nearby Cumberland Farms. After Parenteau comes out of the store the sale went down and she mentioned the crack is “fire,” which an investigator said is drug slang for potent, a court affidavit notes.

Federal Magistrate John M. Conroy agreed to hold Parenteau until next Wednesday morning to allow for the Pre-Trial Services Office to conduct a background check on whether she would be a threat to the community if released.

Conroy said a drug screening before court showed Parenteau tested positive for fentanyl, cocaine, opiates and methadone.

A federal prosecutor asked for Parenteau to be held pending trial.

Special Agent Jamie Pillsbury of Homeland Security said investigators found evidence of the manufacturing and distribution of cocaine base at the home. The task force detective took photographs of the evidence.

Deputy U.S. Marshal John Curtis, part of the raiding party, knocked on the door, but Parenteau, who could be seen through a window, looked away from him and did not answer the door, Pillsbury wrote.

Authorities then entered the residence and found Parenteau and five friends, Pillsbury said.

Conroy during the hearing noted that some of the paperwork submitted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office mentions a violation in Caledonia County, but a prosecutor said it was a mistake, the case is from Orleans County only.

Graves is charged with distribution of heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine on Oct. 11, as part of her six-count federal indictment.

She also is charged with sale of both heroin and crack cocaine on May 8, 2018. Graves also was indicted on charges of two sales of crack cocaine, both on April 24, 2018, and one count of sale each on May 1, 2018 and April 4, 2019, the indictment said.

Thompson is charged under the so-called “Crack House Statute” – maintaining a residence where crack cocaine is unlawfully and knowingly controlled and distributed. The charge maintains the apartment at 42 Maple Street was used between September and October to distribute crack and also heroin.

She also is charged with selling crack cocaine on both Sept. 18 and Sept. 25 to an informant working with the Vermont Drug Task Force, court records show.

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