Supplier of Heroin to Drug Trafficking Organization Indicted
NEWARK, NJ—A federal grand jury returned an indictment today against a supplier of narcotics to a large-scale drug trafficking organization for conspiring to distribute heroin and cocaine in Ocean and Monmouth Counties and elsewhere in New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Thomas Shannon, a/k/a “Cuzzo,” 36, of Jersey City, New Jersey, is charged in a five-count indictment with one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and more than a kilogram of heroin, one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm, one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property.
In March 2014, 20 other individuals, including numerous alleged members of the drug trafficking organization to which Shannon allegedly supplied narcotics, were charged in two separate criminal complaints with conspiring to distribute heroin and other related offenses. The complaint referred to the drug trafficking organization as the “Britt-Young DTO,” after its leaders, Robert Britt, a/k/a “True,” and Rufus Young, a/k/a “Equan,” a/k/a “E-Money,” a/k/a “Kintock.” Of the individuals charged, 15 have pleaded guilty.
According to documents filed in this case:
Between October 2013 and March 2014, Shannon conspired with others to distribute heroin and cocaine in Ocean and Monmouth counties, including to the Britt-Young DTO. Shannon obtained some of his narcotics from conspirators in California, who shipped packages containing large quantities of heroin and cocaine from California to Shannon in New Jersey. The packages were sent to a residence in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and received by another conspirator, who then gave the packages to Shannon. Shannon then transported the narcotics to stash house locations that he controlled in Asbury Park and Long Branch, New Jersey, where he packaged the heroin and cocaine and prepared it for distribution to other dealers. Shannon packaged some of the heroin in small plastic bags that were “stamped” with brand names or markings to distinguish it from other narcotics sold in or around the Monmouth County area.
To pay for the drug shipments, Shannon and others acting at his direction deposited cash into numerous third-party bank accounts provided by the conspirators in California, who then withdrew the cash at bank branch locations in California.
Shannon used numerous cellular telephones to communicate with his conspirators, including through text messages, and he and his conspirators often spoke in code to disguise the illegal nature of their communications. For example, Shannon and a leader of the Britt-Young DTO referred to cocaine as “Kristine.” Shannon also acquired and possessed firearms, including a Smith and Wesson .38 caliber revolver and a Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. .40 caliber handgun.
Shannon was initially charged by criminal complaint on March 20, 2014, and was arrested that day.
The conspiracy count with which Shannon is charged carries a minimum potential penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life in prison, and a $10 million fine. The possession of controlled substances count with which Shannon is charged carries a minimum potential penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years in prison, and a $5 million fine. The unlawful possession of a firearm count carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and the possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense count carries a minimum potential penalty of five years in prison and a maximum of life in prison, which must be served consecutive to any sentence imposed in connection with the underlying drug trafficking offenses. The engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property count carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, Red Bank Resident Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel, with the investigation leading to today’s indictment.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Grippo of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.