Federal authorities have now detained a local woman accused of dragging a Vermont State Trooper on I-91 in St. Johnsbury. Angela Birk, 41, of Newport, was indicted by a Grand Jury in November of 2022 along with nine other suspects on drug charges, including Juan Ortiz, 28, of Springfield, Massachusetts. On Friday, Birk pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Burlington to a felony charge of conspiring to distribute cocaine base and fentanyl in the Northeast Kingdom. The incident occurred in February of 2022 after state police stopped Birk’s vehicle as part of an ongoing drug investigation. Birk is accused by the state of dragging VSP Sgt. Matthew Tarricone with her vehicle for about 50 yards along the highway before he could let go of the vehicle. She then allegedly fled police at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. Police said Tpr. Tarricone was trying to stop Birk from fleeing the scene. The Caledonia County State’s Attorney’s Office has already filed felony charges of aggravated assault on a police officer and eluding a law enforcement officer against Birk. Birk is also being charged by prosecutors with misdemeanor reckless operation of a motor vehicle. The federal charges followed a lengthy investigation by the Northern Vermont Drug Task Force and other local, state and federal agencies, including the Vermont State Police, the Essex County Sheriff’s Department and the Newport Police Department.
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