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Vermont man nicknamed ‘Beast’ sentenced after distributing oxycodone pills in Skittles bags

BURLINGTON A New York man was sentenced to 110 months in a federal prison for selling oxycodone and laundering money in Vermont from 2008 to 2012. Judge William Sessions III sentenced Michael J. Foreste, 36 of Valley Stream, NY, to 110 months’ imprisonment and an additional three years under supervised release. Foreste, nicknamed “Beast,” was convicted on 10 charges involving his trafficking of oxycodone in Vermont. The charges ranged from conspiring to distribute oxycodone in Vermont from 2008 through June 2014 all the way to money laundering.

The trial lasted two weeks, and at sentencing, Judge Sessions ordered Foreste to forfeit a 2007 Lexus which he had utilized to launder illegal drug money. During the six-year period of dealing, Foreste worked with a few accomplices, such as Andre Clarke, Carol Clarke and Dannis Hackney. Andre Clarke had been serving as a New York City police officer during the time period in question, and he pleaded guilty to his role in the operation earlier in 2017. He also resigned from the police force amid the controversy.

Carol Clarke, Andre Clarke’s sister from Brooklyn, was the main source for the drug scheme. She received a monthly prescription for hundreds of oxycodone to dull her sickle cell disease which she then sent to her brother for later distribution, the Attorney General’s Office said. Foreste originally transported the pills to Vermont and sold them off on his own. However, in April 2012, Vermont State Police pulled over Foreste and seized 659 oxycodone pills. After the confiscation, Foreste received a federal conviction in 2013 for possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and was on pretrial release when the crimes in the current trial occurred.

After April 2012, Foreste began using Hackney as a middle man to sell pills to Burlington area opoiod addicts. Foreste would mail the pills to Hackney using Skittles bags via the U.S. Mail system, until Hackney turned in Foreste to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in June 2014, the Attorney General’s Office said. Evidence at the trial showed the drug scheme to have produced more than $500,000 in profit for Foreste which was laundered between the four accomplices using various bank accounts.

Foreste’s convictions and sentencing were the result of a multi-agency investigation and prosecution beginning back in mid-2014, spearheaded by Homeland Security Investigations.

ADT Security Services van catches fire in NH causing 12-volt batteries inside to explode

KEENE An ADT Security Services van became engulfed in flames, leaving the driver with burns to her hands. The woman drove west on Route 9 when smoke started coming out of the 2015 Dodge van near a roundabout Saturday around 8:45 a.m., Captain Michael Abbott said. The van had caught on fire, causing 12-volt batteries used for alarm systems to explode within the car, Abbott said.

The woman suffered burns to her hands as she tried to retrieve items from the vehicle, Abbott said. Officials transported her to Chesire Medical Center for treatment.

The van was a total loss. The cause of the incident remains under investigation.

Report: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has $756M economic impact

KITTERY, Maine (AP) A group that advocates for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard said the submarine overhaul facility had an economic impact of $756 million last year. The Seacoast Shipyard Association said in its report Thursday that the shipyard had a civilian payroll of $496 million and provided jobs to 6,329 civilian workers in 2016. The military payroll for Navy and Coast Guard personnel was $43 million. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire said the report confirms the shipyard “is not only critical to our national security, but is also a vital economic engine for the Seacoast.”

The report noted that 3,597 of the workers are from Maine, and 2,266 are from New Hampshire. The economic impact and civilian employment both grew about 3 percent to 3.5 percent from 2015 figures.

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