Five arrested, charged for straw purchasing scheme in Vermont
By Christen Smith
Pictured from left to right: Dara Bassette, Laci Baker, Megan West, Sierra Lacoste and Tyson Wells. (Photo: St. Albans Messenger)
Federal authorities arrested and charged five Vermont residents last week for their involvement in a straw purchasing scheme with ties to gang activity in Boston.
Tyson Wells, Dara Bessette, Sierra Lacoste, Laci Baker, and Megan West — all of St. Albans City, Vermont, a small town near the Canadian border — face charges for lying on gun background check forms last year, pretending to buy more than 30 firearms for themselves they later traded to two drug dealers in exchange for cocaine and heroin.
According to a criminal complaint filed last week, two drug dealers with connections to the Latin Kings in south Boston moved in with Wells and Bassette in August 2017. Bassette told investigators she and Wells acted as middlemen, arranging for drug sales between local residents and the dealers, who wanted to shield themselves from any possible police probe.
The dealers supplied Wells and Bassette with “free” cocaine in exchange for their help, eventually encouraging them and three others — Lacoste, Baker and West — to buy firearms from two different local stores for transport back to south Boston. The women