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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Vermont
Nikolas Kerest, United States Attorney
Contact: Media Inquiries/Public Affairs Officer
For Immediate Release
Thursday, December 21, 2023

Drug Trafficker Sentenced to 5 Years in Federal Prison for Unlawful Possession of Firearms

BURLINGTON, Vt. — The U.S. Attorney’s Office stated that Ryan Goodrich, 38, of Athens, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Rutland on Dec. 20, following his guilty plea to being a prohibited person in possession of firearms. Chief U.S. District Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford sentenced Goodrich to 60 months’ imprisonment to be followed by a 3-year term of supervised release.

According to court records, Vermont Game Wardens began an investigation of Goodrich in late winter 2022 for violations of fish and wildlife regulations. During their investigation, the wardens obtained a search warrant for Goodrich’s Facebook account, which revealed a photograph of a short-barrel shotgun. The messages within the account revealed Goodrich had discharged the weapon and likely possessed it at his residence. The wardens coordinated with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to execute a search warrant at Goodrich’s residence on March 3, 2022. During the search, agents located the short-barrel shotgun (which was loaded), multiple additional shotguns, multiple rifles (including an AR-style rifle), 2,978 rounds of ammunition, $6,000 in U.S. currency, and 880 bags of heroin. The short-barrel shotgun was subject to registration with the National Firearms Act; however, it was not properly recorded. Documents in Ryan Goodrich’s name were also found in the camper, although he was not there when the search warrant was executed.

After the warrant was executed, a federal grand jury returned an indictment on March 10, 2022. Agents attempted to locate Goodrich in and around Athens, and in doing so, encouraged people who knew him to have Goodrich turn himself in to law enforcement. Goodrich did not do so. On April 9, 2022, Keene, New Hampshire, Police located Goodrich at a hotel in Keene. Officers obtained a search warrant for the hotel room, but Goodrich was not inside when it was executed. Agents found evidence of Goodrich’s prior presence, including personal paperwork in a backpack. On April 19, 2022, law enforcement learned that Goodrich was attempting to obtain transportation to Texas. Goodrich was subsequently located and apprehended at a hotel in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Following Goodrich’s arrest, investigators obtained a federal search warrant for certain social media information used by Goodrich. When law enforcement executed that warrant, they found various messages that demonstrated that in March 2022, Goodrich was involved in drug trafficking.

U.S. Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest commended the investigatory efforts of Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He also thanked the Keene, New Hampshire, Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, the Deerfield, Massachusetts, Police Department, and the Greenfield, Massachusetts, Police Department for their assistance in locating and apprehending Goodrich. 

Colonel Justin Stedman from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Division of Warden Service, stated, “The Vermont Warden Service is grateful to our federal partners at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for being so willing to assist us in building and prosecuting this case. It is a shining example of what law enforcement can accomplish when we work together with the goal of seeing justice served.” 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan Ophardt, Paul Van de Graaf and Zachary Stendig investigated and prosecuted the case. Goodrich is represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Mary Nerino.

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.


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