DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Vermont

For Immediate Release

Monday, January 13, 2014
Tristram J. Coffin
, United States Attorney
Contact: Public Information Officer

Chandra Sam Sentnenced to 14 Years' Imprisonment for Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Chandara Sam, 31, of Lowell, Massachusetts was sentenced to 168 months in prison, having pled guilty to the charge of conspiracy to distribute at least 100 grams of heroin. United States District Judge William K. Sessions III, sitting in Burlington, also sentenced Sam to 4 years of supervised release.

Court records show that Sam, who goes by the alias APo,@ was taken into custody in April 2013 in White River Junction, after selling approximately 40 grams of heroin to an individual cooperating with law enforcement. Sam has been incarcerated since his arrest.

Court records further show that Sam is a member of a larger group that distributed an especially strong form of heroin in the Burlington area from about mid-2011 through the time of Sam's arrest. This heroin is known as AChi town@ or AChi,@ short for Chicago, and has caused several overdoses. The Vermont State Police Drug Task Force began an investigation into Sam's heroin ring in December 2011.

In January 2013, members of the Essex Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration arrested two individuals, Edward Chavin, also known as ATommy,@ and Christopher Nason in the Handy's Suites in Essex. Chavin was found in possession of more than 100 grams of heroin. He and Nason were subsequently indicted for conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, and both have pled guilty. The Handy's Suites raid occurred following a heroin overdose in a nearby room. Investigation revealed that Chavin, Nason, and Sam were part of the same heroin ring, and that Chavin had been transporting heroin from Chicago to the Burlington area for nearly a year prior to his arrest.

Following Sam's arrest, law enforcement in Lowell, Massachusetts executed a search warrant at his residence. They recovered another 30 grams of heroin, bullets, about $47,000 cash, part of a .45 caliber hand gun, and two digital scales. Court records reveal that Sam carried handguns and used violence during the time he trafficked heroin in Vermont. Sam has a criminal history that includes six prior felony offenses and several instances of unlawful weapons and firearms activity.

For his crime, Sam faced a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison. In sentencing Sam, Judge Sessions noted the large volume of heroin Sam distributed, as well as its potency. Judge Sessions also cited Sam=s use of guns and violence during the drug conspiracy, and his significant criminal history.

The investigation was a collaborative effort of the Vermont State Police Drug Task Force; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; the Essex and Burlington, Vermont Police Departments; and the Lowell, Massachusetts Police Department.

Assistant United States Attorney Christina Nolan prosecuted the case. Sam is represented by Jean-Claude Charbonneau of Rutland, Vermont.



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