Springfield case ends in plea deal
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A young mother who was arrested during last summer’s “Operation Precision Valley” sweep of suspected drug dealers in Springfield pleaded guilty Tuesday and received a “community furlough” sentence.
Amber White, 21, of Springfield, was arrested in June along with her boyfriend, Matthew Neathawk, and originally charged with three felony counts of selling heroin. She subsequently racked up four additional charges of violating her court-ordered conditions for pre-trial release.
Detectives with the Vermont Drug Task Force said White and Neathawk had shown up last May at a busy parking lot in downtown Springfield to sell a bundle of 10 bags of heroin to an informant who traveled from Bennington to make the purchase, while a police surveillance team monitored the transaction.
In Tuesday’s plea deal, White pleaded guilty to a single felony count of heroin sales and to two of the condition violations, with all the remaining four charges dismissed.
White received a 0-to-4 year sentence under the state’s new community furlough program which, as Judge Karen Carroll explained during Tuesday’s sentencing, means while White gets to immediately return home to serve her sentence, “with one slip up you can go directly to jail without stopping in court first.”
White told the judge she had been doing well in counseling and had completed a 28-day stay at the Valley Vista drug treatment facility in Bradford after her arrests.
Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill recommended the sentence to the court, saying, “The great thing about a community furlough sentence is that it will be primarily a rehabilitative sentence designed to get her off heroin and get her to stay off heroin. We wish her well and we hope we do not see her back in court again.”