Rutland drug trafficker sentenced to nearly 6 years

RUTLAND, Vt. (NEWS10) – A Connecticut man was sentenced on Wednesday to nearly six years in prison after conspiring to sell drugs from a Rutland apartment in 2021. Ralph “D” Mariani, 28, of West Hartford, Connecticut, pleaded guilty in December to a charge of conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and cocaine base in the Rutland area.

Chief Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford also ordered that Mariani serve three years of supervised release after he serves his prison sentence. Mariani’s three co-defendants, Cedano “J” Brownswell and Rashane “Brody” Wedderburn, both from Hartford, and Jasmine Wendell, of West Rutland, Vermont, have all pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and are awaiting sentencing.

According to court records, on November 18, 2020, law enforcement carried out a federal search warrant for an apartment on Traverse Place in Rutland, Vermont. Mariani, and his three co-defendants, were all present at the time of the search.

Law enforcement seized around 72 grams of powder cocaine, 45 grams of cocaine base, 69 bags of fentanyl, and 52 Oxycodone pills from the apartment. The search also resulted in the seizure of four guns, including a loaded 9mm pistol found on the living room couch. Over six thousand dollars in cash was also taken from Mariani, Brownswell, and Wedderburn.

The government argued that a long sentence was justified because Mariani’s offense involved drug trafficking for profit, possession of firearms, violence, and threats of violence, including the assault of a drug addict to coerce her into dealing drugs for him in the Rutland area.

United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest commended the joint efforts in this investigation by the Vermont State Police (Narcotics Investigation Unit), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Rutland City Police, and Homeland Security Investigations. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Perella.

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