For Immediate Release
Darwin Medina Sentenced to 135 Months for Drug Distribution and Firearms Conspiracies
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Darwin Medina (also known as “Weezy” to his former drug customers in Franklin County) was sentenced today in federal court on one count of conspiring to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine base and one count of conspiring to possess firearms in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime. Medina—who is 35 and a resident of Boston, Massachusetts—was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss to a period of incarceration of 135 months, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release, for his role in the conspiracies.
The defendant pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea agreement he entered into with the United States. According to court records, Medina was responsible for the distribution of at least 2.8 kilograms of “crack” cocaine in the Franklin County area and for the trafficking of at least 30 illegally purchased firearms from Vermont to the Boston area. His offenses continued from at least September 2017 through March 2018. Medina and his codefendant, John Guerrero, used multiple drug customers in Swanton to purchase firearms for them in exchange for controlled substances. Those straw purchasers included Tyson Wells, Laci Baker, Sierra Lacoste, Megan West, and Kelly Champaine; Dara Bessette helped plan the straw purchases for Medina and Guerrero. All six of those individuals already pleaded guilty to related charges last year. Wells and Bessette are still awaiting sentencing.
As part of his plea agreement, Medina had agreed to a sentencing range of 120 to 180 months. In the absence of the plea agreement, the defendant could have been sentenced up to life imprisonment. In exchange for pleading guilty, the United States agreed to dismiss two additional criminal charges: possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and interstate transportation of firearms from which the serial numbers had been removed, altered, or obliterated.
United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan stated, “This sentencing is the culmination of a lengthy investigation and prosecution involving multiple law enforcement organizations in multiple states. Darwin Medina was one of two leaders of a conspiracy to pour dangerous drugs into Franklin County. Their actions invited destruction in two communities. The citizens of Vermont suffered the consequences of the drugs they brought in, while the defendants took money and guns back to Boston to further gang activities there. The U.S. Attorney’s Office remains committed to the prosecution of crimes at the intersection of dangerous drugs and illegal firearms.”
The investigation of this case was a joint effort between agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and local law enforcement—particularly the St. Albans Police Department. “Trafficked firearms represent a danger to our community because they can end up in the hands of convicted felons, violent criminals, and many other kinds of people who are prohibited from having firearms,” said Kelly D. Brady, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Boston Field Division. “We will continue to work aggressively alongside our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to fulfill the mission of ATF by targeting offenders like Darwin Medina and John Guerrero, as well as their straw purchasers, to get illegally trafficked guns off the street.”
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting firearm use and possession crimes; prioritizes prosecuting persons who make false statements when attempting to obtain firearms; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives concerning persons who attempt to obtain firearms illegally; coordinates responses to persons prevented from obtaining firearms for mental health reasons; and ensures the use of modern intelligence tools and technology to focus on the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.
This prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Lasher. Darwin Medina was represented by Mark Oettinger, Esq. of Burlington, Vermont.