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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Vermont
Nikolas Kerest, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Monday, October 23, 2023

Martine Protas Sentenced for Unlawfully Possessing a Firearm

Burlington, Vt. — The U.S. Attorney’s Office stated that on Oct. 20, Martine Protas, 44, of Springfield, Vermont, was sentenced to a prison term of time-served, to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release following her guilty plea to being an illegal user of controlled substances in possession of a firearm. Protas had been detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service from her Nov. 30, 2022, arrest through March 30, 2023, when she was released from custody to attend a treatment program. However, Protas never reported to the program. An arrest warrant was issued, and she was re-arrested on April 6. She had been in custody since then.

According to court records, on Nov. 30, 2022, investigators were searching for an individual who was the subject of a federal arrest warrant. Law enforcement located the wanted individual in the driver’s seat of a vehicle that was parked at the Springfield Hospital. Protas was in the passenger seat, in possession of a holstered semiautomatic pistol in her waistband. At the time that Protas and the other person were found by law enforcement, they appeared to be smoking cocaine base. Investigators found drug paraphernalia inside of the car and cocaine base on the ground outside of the passenger side door of the vehicle.

U.S. Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest commended the investigatory and collaborative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Vermont State Police, the Vermont Drug Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Springfield Police Department and the Windsor County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The United States is represented in this matter by Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary Stendig. Martine Protas is represented by Michael Shklar, Esq.

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 of Justice 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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