BENNINGTON -- The following arraignments took place in Bennington Superior Court on Wednesday as a result of Operation Strike Two. All of the defendants pleaded not gulity. Christopher Coyne, 28, of Bennington, was charged with conspiracy, sale of cocaine and dispensing narcotics from a dwelling. The prosecution alleged that Coyne allowed Cedric Daniels, 35, of Pownal, and Danielle Lake, 32, of Bennington, to reside at his Jackson Road home in Pownal, from which they dealt drugs. Coyne allegedly accepted payment in the form of crack cocaine. The defense argued that there was nothing to show that Coyne profited from the arrangement. Coyne was ordered to have no contact with either Daniels or Lake, and to not leave Bennington County.
Domenic Thane, 22, of Bennington, was charged with the sale of regulated drugs including Oxycodone. Judge Nancy Corsones stated she was concerned Thane might be a flight risk, citing his roots in California and a previous arrest for DUI earlier this year in which he told police he was driving to Albany, N.Y., to obtain heroin for another suspect, Tracy Eastman. He was ordered to make daily check-ins with the Bennington Police Department, and bail was set at $5,000.
Tracy Eastman, 41, of Bennington, was charged with 13 misdemeanors and one felony, for charges related to the sale of cocaine and heroin. Prosecution called Eastman "a significant dealer," and asked for $150,000 bail, which was ultimately set at $50,000 and on condition he not leave his residence.
Ashley Rafus, 25, of Manchester, was charged with the sale of cocaine and dispensing narcotics from a dwelling. Rafus has no prior arrests in Vermont and has faced charges in North Carolina, with no resulting convictions, where she previously resided with her mother. The defense stated Rafus has been a resident of Manchester for the past two years and has two children, resulting in strong ties to the community. According to court documents, Rafus is currently receiving support from Brattleboro Retreat and undergoing regular drug tests as a requirement of that program. In addition, she has sought help from a local substance abuse support group. Rafus was released on an unsecured appearance bond of $5,000 and will be required to make daily check-ins to the Manchester Police Department as well as submit to a nightly curfew.
Kaeleigh Sigsbury, 27, of Pownal, was arraigned and charged with selling cocaine. Court documents allege Sigsbury was found in possession of 2.3 grams of powdered cocaine. The defense argued Sigsbury was only being charged for one sale of the substance and has a minimal prior record, including a 2009 DUI charge and three misdemeanors resulting in probation. The prosecution asked for $2,500 bail, which Judge Corsones stated would not normally be considered excessive, especially since the defendant had allegedly managed to buy the cocaine, but in light of her ties to the community and her young child she was released on an unsecured bond and required to check in daily with police.