The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that on June 15, 2020, United States District Judge William K. Sessions III sentenced Rodolfo Davila to 151 months in prison following his guilty pleas to (1) conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and 100 grams or more of heroin, (2) maintaining a drug-involved premises, and (3) being a felon in possession of a firearm. Davila further admitted that his offense involved one kilogram of heroin, or approximately 40,000 individual dosages.
United States Attorney Christina Nolan thanked the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Vermont State Police Drug Task Force for their teamwork in achieving justice in this important drug case. She stated: “Windsor County has been ravaged by the drug trade for years, and its location off Interstate 91 and proximity to drug source cities in Massachusetts make it vulnerable. Federal, state, and local law enforcement will continue to devote investigative resources to areas in southern Vermont and across the state hardest hit by the drug crisis. We have said that those who deal deadly narcotics to Vermonters for large profit will find themselves facing serious sanction in the form of jail sentences and seizure of the assets and money they acquired on the backs of suffering addicted Vermonters. Mr. Davila, a serious recidivist offender who possessed guns, is now facing exactly that consequence.”
According to Court records, during 2017 and 2018 the United States Department of Homeland Security and the Vermont State Police Drug Task Force conducted 11 controlled purchases of heroin and fentanyl from Davila and co-conspirators David Cheney, Sean Palmer, Gary Desilets, and Davila’s sister, Elizabeth Gonzalez-Rivera. On June 6, 2017, Gonzalez-Rivera was found to be in possession of more than $38,000 when the Vermont State Police stopped a vehicle she was driving after it was observed leaving Davila’s residence.
On April 6, 2018, law enforcement arrested Davila and executed a federal search warrant at his residence located at 55 River Street in Windsor, Vermont. Pursuant to the search warrant, law enforcement seized more than 1,450 bags of heroin, over $84,000, and two handguns. Also located were two bank checks, payable to Davila, in the amounts of $9,900 and $9,100.
A subsequent financial investigation revealed that over the course of 30 days, Davila and Cheney converted $105,000 of United States currency to bank checks, along with $23,000 of money orders. These funds – all of which were determined to be the proceeds of Davila’s drug trafficking organization – were used to purchase the 55 River Street residence for more than $148,000. Less than a month later, over the course of a single week, Davila and Cheney converted additional United States currency to bank checks, which were then used to purchase a second residence, located at 41 Jarvis Street in Windsor, Vermont, for $34,000. Davila purchased business cards, lawn signs, and vehicle magnets for his purported business, “We Buy Houses & Turn Them Into Homes.”
Judge Sessions ordered the forfeiture of the residences located at 55 River Street and 41 Jarvis Street, as well as Davila’s drug proceeds. More than $124,000 of Davila’s drug proceeds were previously forfeited by HSI.
For his crimes, Davila was subject to a mandatory-minimum sentence of 60 months. The 151-month sentence imposed by Judge Sessions considered Davila’s significant criminal history, which included 35 prior criminal convictions, and a recent 4-5-year Massachusetts State Prison sentence for a firearm offense.
On February 4, 2020, David Cheney was sentenced to a 48-month term of imprisonment following his convictions for conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and heroin, and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Cheney agreed to be deported to Canada. On March 9, 2020, Gary Desilets was sentenced to time served to be followed by 3 years of federal supervised release. Sean Palmer and Elizabeth Gonzalez-Rivera have each been convicted of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and heroin, and await sentencing.
U.S. Attorney Nolan commended HSI and the Vermont State Police for their work on this investigation.
“We thank the U.S. Attorney for Vermont and the Vermont State Police for their solid teamwork in bringing Mr. Davila to justice in this case.” said Michael Shea, acting Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, Boston. “HSI remains committed to investigating and fighting those drug trafficking networks like the one that Davila ran that have played a major role in the deadly opioid epidemic that has destroyed so many lives and disrupted communities throughout Vermont and all of New England.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nate Burris. Davila was represented by Attorney Devin McLaughlin of Langrock Sperry & Wool.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years