Vermont woman pleads guilty to 2 drug charges

  • Troopers with the Massachusetts State Police barracks in Shelburne arrested Jessica Speed, of St. Johnsbury, Vt., on Oct. 1, 2019. According to police, she was pulled over driving on Interstate 91 in Greenfield with 19 grams of crack cocaine, approximately 16 grams of heroin, a digital scale and $500 in cash in her vehicle. COURTESY PHOTO/ MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE

  • Jessica Speed, 30, attends her change-of-plea hearing via a Zoom conference from the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington, Vt., on Wednesday afternoon. SCREENSHOT

Staff Writer
Published: 9/9/2021 3:28:21 PM

GREENFIELD — A Vermont woman in federal custody in her home state remotely changed her plea to guilty on two charges in Franklin County Superior Court on Wednesday.

Jessica Speed, 30, of St. Johnsbury, Vt., appeared before Judge Richard Carey via the online video conferencing platform Zoom and the judge accepted her pleas to one count of possession of a Class A drug with the intent to distribute and one count of possession of a Class B drug with the intent to distribute. She was sentenced to two years in the Franklin County Jail and House of Correction for each charge stemming from an Oct. 1, 2019, incident, and defense attorney Timothy Flynn said she will be eligible for parole in about a year. The sentences will be served concurrently.

Speed will receive two days’ credit for time already served. She is being held at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington, Vt., where she faces federal narcotics charges. She waived her right to be physically present at Wednesday’s change-of-plea hearing.

“She has struggled with drug addiction for a long time,” Flynn told Carey, adding that his client wants to get sober.

Assistant District Attorney Joseph Webber, who is prosecuting the case, explained a state trooper stopped Speed — who had a child in a car seat in the back of the vehicle — at the Exit 26 ramp in the northbound lane of Interstate 91 on Oct. 1, 2019, for a defective license plate light. Speed reportedly gave her license and registration to the trooper, who noticed a baggie in the vehicle’s center console when Speed opened it. This baggie was reportedly filled with a large white chunky substance consistent with crack cocaine.

Speed was arrested after more officers arrived. While being escorted to the back of a squad car, Speed allegedly mentioned wax bags of heroin in the front seat. Webber said troopers recovered 691 bags filled with powder consistent with heroin or fentanyl. Troopers also seized $500 in cash and a black digital scale with a white powder residue on it. Webber said the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory determined Speed possessed 16.62 grams of cocaine and 18.7 grams of fentanyl.

The child in the vehicle was taken to the State Police barracks in Shelburne, where Speed’s mother met troopers to take custody. According to the police report, the Vermont Department of Children and Families was also contacted.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or
413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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