The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced today that Jonathan Castro, a.k.a. “Jose,” 33, of Springfield, Vermont and Springfield, Massachusetts; Anibal Castro, Sr., a.k.a. “Papi,” 54, of Springfield, Vermont; and Derek Arie, 34, of Springfield, Vermont were indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury sitting in Rutland, Vermont for conspiring to distribute cocaine base and fentanyl from March 2022 to November 30, 2022. The indictment also charges Arie with possessing cocaine base with intent to distribute on June 4, 2022. In addition, Martine Protas, 43, of Springfield, Vermont was charged by criminal complaint today with illegal possession of a firearm.
According to court documents, the drug conspiracy involved distribution of controlled substances on Valley Street in Springfield, Vermont and elsewhere. Anibal Castro, Sr. and Protas were arrested yesterday in Springfield, Vermont. When they were arrested, law enforcement discovered that Protas, who is an unlawful user of narcotics, had a firearm on her person. Jonathan Castro was arrested yesterday in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Arie, who was previously charged in September 2022, is currently on conditions of release.
Protas will have an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle on December 2 at 3:00 p.m. Anibal Castro, Sr. will be arraigned on December 2 at 4:00 p.m. Jonathan Castro will be arraigned on December 5 at 1:00 p.m. Arie’s arraignment has not yet been scheduled.
The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges in the indictment are accusations only and that each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. Each drug charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and up to a $1 million fine. The firearm charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine. Any actual sentence, however, would be determined by the Court and advised by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and the United States Code.
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. Jonathan Castro is represented by Robert Behrens, Esq. Anibal Castro, Sr. is represented by Natasha Sen, Esq. Derek Arie is represented by Kevin Henry, Esq. 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 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 https://www.justice.gov/psn