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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Vermont

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, August 8, 2023
Nikolas Kerest
, United States Attorney

Michigan Man Sentenced to 27 Months’ Imprisonment for Crack Cocaine Distribution and Unlawful Firearm Possession

Burlington, Vermont – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont stated that on August 7, 2023, Van Vincent Thomas, 41, of Detroit, Michigan, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William K. Sessions III to a sentence of 27 months’ imprisonment followed by a 3-year term of supervised release. Thomas previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine base and possession of a firearm as a convicted felon.

According to court records, in January and February 2022, Van Vincent Thomas conspired with co-defendant Jonathan Arnold to distribute cocaine base in the Chittenden County, Vermont, area. In March 2022, Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) obtained and executed a search warrant at a motel in Shelburne, Vermont, where Thomas had been staying. During execution of the search warrant, HSI agents recovered a Ruger Redhawk .44 caliber revolver with an obliterated serial number belonging to Thomas, along with over 70 grams of cocaine base, over $40,000 in cash, and 43 rounds of ammunition. Prior to possessing the Ruger Redhawk, Thomas was convicted in 2017 in the Chittenden District Court of Vermont for felony distribution of cocaine base.

United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest commended the collaborative investigatory efforts of Homeland Security Investigations, the Milton Police Department, Burlington Police Department, Vermont State Police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Corinne Smith, Joseph Perella, and Kimberly Ang. Mr. Thomas was represented by Avi Springer, Esq., and Assistant Federal Public Defender Sara Puls.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results. For more information about Project Safe Neighborhoods, please visit


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