Ten Defendants Charged in White Plains Federal Court with Heroin Trafficking and Firearms Offenses in Dutchess County
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Diego Rodriguez, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Adrian H. Anderson, the Dutchess County Sheriff, and Ronald J. Knapp, the Chief of Police of City of Poughkeepsie Police Department, today announced the unsealing of an Indictment and two Complaints charging 10 defendants with committing heroin trafficking and firearms offenses in and around Dutchess County, New York. Eight defendants were taken into federal custody today and were presented in White Plains federal court this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul E. Davison. Two defendants were previously taken into federal custody on a Complaint filed on May 14, 2015.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Heroin is a growing problem in New York, making an unfortunate comeback in cities and rural communities alike. Heroin and prescription pill overdoses keep going up, killing more and more people every day. With heroin trafficking and firearms charges like those brought today against ten defendants selling drugs in Dutchess County, we aim to confront this epidemic. We thank the FBI, the Dutchess County Sherriff’s Office and the Poughkeepsie Police Department for their extraordinary efforts on this case.”
Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez said: “Today, we announce the charges against ten individuals who allegedly sought to sell heroin in the City of Poughkeepsie with the aid of firearms. The charges demonstrate the FBI’s continued effort to work closely with our law enforcement partners in eliminating the terror these groups inflict on our communities. Dismantling violent gangs remains a priority for the FBI.”
Sheriff Adrian H. Anderson said: “Today the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office partnered with Federal and local law enforcement agencies to assist in the arrests of numerous people who have allegedly been dealing heroin and other dangerous drugs throughout Dutchess County and surrounding areas. All of these law enforcement agencies are dedicated to working together to rid our streets of dangerous drugs, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and the City of Poughkeepsie Police for their outstanding work in helping to make this investigation such an enormous success. Those who deal in heroin and other dangerous drugs are not going to be allowed to poison our community, and this investigation is the latest example of how Federal and local law enforcement agencies working together can make a huge difference and go a long way towards making our streets and residents safer.”
Chief of Police Ronald J. Knap said: “These arrests culminate a joint investigation into regional narcotics trafficking, specifically heroin. The City of Poughkeepsie was one of the communities that these suspects lived and operated in. We thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their work and pending prosecution of this case. We also thank the FBI and Dutchess County Sheriff for their participation in this successful investigation. The City of Poughkeepsie has suffered more than its share of heroin deaths. Arresting and prosecuting those who deal in these dangerous drugs on the Federal level is an important strategy as the effort cannot be deal with solely as a local problem.”
As alleged in the Indictment unsealed today in White Plains federal court1:
From December 2013 through June 2015, MONDU ALLAH, CARITA BENNERMAN, CLIFTON CATTS, EUGENE LAMONT GRAVES, LARRY GRAVES, MAURICE HOLLIS, JULIENNE KOLOZY, and SAMUEL TURNER conspired to sell more than one kilogram of heroin. During the course of the conspiracy, law enforcement officers observed certain defendants participating in the sale of heroin to confidential informants working with law enforcement and to an undercover law enforcement officer. Law enforcement officers, using a court-authorized wiretap, also intercepted numerous communications in which certain of the defendants discussed heroin trafficking and arranged heroin transactions. On May 13, 2015, ALLAH and HOLLIS also carried, and aided and abetted the carrying of, a firearm in furtherance of the narcotics conspiracy charged in the Indictment.
In addition the Indictment, two Complaints were also unsealed today. As alleged in those Complaints:
From December 2013 through January 2014, ROBERT NOVICK conspired to sell heroin, and sold 3, 4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine, commonly referred to as “MDMA,” in Poughkeepsie. On May 9, 2015, VARICK GOSS conspired to sell heroin and crack cocaine in Poughkeepsie.
ALLAH and HOLLIS, two of the defendants charged in the Indictment, both face a mandatory term of 10 years in prison on Count One and a mandatory term of 5 years in prison on Count Two, consecutive to any sentence on Count One. Each faces a maximum term of life in prison on both counts. The other six defendants charged in the Indictment each face a mandatory term of 10 years in prison on Count One, and a maximum term of life. Each defendant charged in the Complaints faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison. The statutory minimum and maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for information purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants would be determined by the respective judges.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department, and other local law enforcement partners.
These cases are being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren Schorr and Douglas Zolkind are in charge of the prosecutions.
The charges contained in the Indictment and Complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
1 As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment and the Complaints, and the description of the Indictment and the Complaints set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.