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.
BURLINGTON, Vt. –
Public safety concerns are on the minds of race organizers for the Vermont City Marathon. It’s the largest single-day sporting event in the state. Upward of 30,000 people will descend on downtown Burlington for Sunday’s big race. And in light of recent events in England and with the memories of the Boston marathon bombing, security will be a priority.
“In our industry, we had a watershed moment in 2013 when the attack occurred at the Boston Marathon,” said Peter Delaney of RunVermont. The blast shook the streets of Boston and the entire racing community. The Vermont City Marathon held its annual event just five weeks later with new protocols.
“Plastic gear bags for the runners, transparent plastic bags for trash containers and things like that in all of the race venues,” Delaney said.
New regulations that will stay in place for the upcoming marathon. Police will also be out in force.
“We haven’t had to change our focus post-Boston. We have always been vigilant with the event,” Burlington Deputy Police Chief Shawn Burke said. Law enforcement officers say the bombing in England is a reminder the public needs to be vigilant, too.
“There is no one that knows their neighbor or surroundings better than themselves,” Burke said. “That is why we are always campaigning if you see something, say something.”
While the Green Mountains may be an unlikely terror target, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott says Vermonters should keep their eyes open at big events like the marathon.
“We have to be vigilant here and we have to pay attention to make sure that we don’t let our guard down and we do report when we see something that doesn’t seem right,” said Scott, R-Vermont. Runners are continuing to train for the 29th annual marathon. It will be Brian Cantrell’s first. He says while he aware of the bombing overseas, right now he’s focused on finishing the race.
“I’m not concerned about that,” he said. “I just don’t believe you should let bad guys dictate what you are doing.”
One thing that will be different this year is a 7 a.m. start time which is an hour earlier than past years. Partially in an attempt to avoid any heat out on the course that plagued runners last year.
Lee Robert Moore in a booking photo. Delaware Justice Department via AP
Moore was nabbed in an undercover sting when he sent indecent materials, including a picture of himself, to someone he thought was a teenage girl on the mobile apps Kik and Meet24, according to the criminal complaint. The “girl” turned out to be an agent of the Delaware State Police working with the Delaware Child Predator Task Force. After his arrest, investigators learned that Moore had sent sexually explicit messages and images of himself to real underage girls in Florida, Texas and Missouri, according to the complaint. Moore’s case was heard in U.S. District Court in Palm Beach County, Florida, so he could consolidate his guilty pleas.
Moore’s wife urged U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley in court documents to sentence her husband, a retired Marine and father of two children, to the minimum sentence of 10 years.
“I can honestly say he is still a genuinely good and decent person,” she wrote. “I ask that you consider the lowest possible sentence as it would greatly benefit our children, as well as myself.”
But prosecutors asked Hurley to sentence Moore to life in prison, writing in court documents: “It is particularly galling that he was himself an armed guard at the single most important residence in our constitutional republic, yet he repeatedly used that guard booth to take photos of his penis and send them to underage girls.”
Moore must also register as a sex offender and undergo sex offender treatment. Once he is released, he must remain under court supervision for the rest of his life.