Friday, September 28, 2012

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Charges 11 Members of Poughkeepsie-Based Heroin Distribution Ring

Twelfth Defendant Also Charged in Separate Indictment with Distributing Heroin

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Mary Galligan, the Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Ronald J. Knapp, the Chief of the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department, and Adrian H. Anderson, the Dutchess County Sheriff, announced today the unsealing of an indictment charging 11 defendants with conspiracy to distribute heroin in and around Poughkeepsie, New York. In a separate indictment, a 12th defendant was also charged with distributing heroin in Poughkeepsie. In a coordinated takedown yesterday and this morning, federal, state, and local law enforcement officers arrested seven of the charged defendants. The remaining five defendants were already in custody on state charges. All 12 of the defendants in custody will be presented and arraigned in White Plains federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge George A. Yanthis this afternoon.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated, “At first glance, the cell phone store from which these defendants were allegedly operating looked like any other commercial establishment, but in fact, it was the epicenter of their dangerous, destructive, and potentially lethal heroin operation. Thanks to the vigilance and tenacity of federal and local law enforcement, this alleged narcotics ring is out of business, and the streets of Poughkeepsie will no longer be infected with their poison. We remain as committed as ever to ensuring that the residents of Hudson Valley are safe and that their neighborhoods are crime free.”

FBI Acting Assistant Director in Charge Mary Galligan stated, “The FBI and our partners in the Hudson Valley will continue the effort to protect the safety and security of our neighborhoods. One important way to do this is by ridding the streets of dangerous drugs and the dangerous people who peddle them.”

Poughkeepsie Police Chief Ronald J. Knapp stated, “The city of Poughkeepsie Police Department is fortunate to be a member of this task force and work with these agencies to combat the illegal drug activities that these criminals engaged in. Our community benefits greatly from these joint investigations and the federal prosecution these individuals now face. Our intent is to send a clear message to criminals who engage in such activity that we are not limited to local resources but have the advantages of the combined efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and the Dutchess County Sheriff’s office. We thank these partners for their commitment to our community and this successful operation.”

Dutchess County Sheriff Adrian H. Anderson stated, “The Sheriff’s Office is committed to working with our partners in federal law enforcement to seek out, arrest, and prosecute those allegedly involved in violent crime and narcotics distribution in Dutchess County. The Sheriff’s Office is deeply committed to this goal and has made substantial arrangements to achieve it, including the assignment of personnel and the use of numerous resources in conjunction with federal law enforcement. Today’s events show that law enforcement in Dutchess County, both local and federal, will do what’s needed to put an end to violent crime and drug distribution in our county.”

The following allegations are based on the indictments unsealed today in White Plains federal court:

From January 2011 through September 2012, a drug trafficking organization (the “Fisher Organization” or “the organization”) distributed heroin in and around Poughkeepsie, New York. During the conspiracy, leaders and members of the organization coordinated drug dealing activity at a cell phone store on Main Street in Poughkeepsie, where they concealed heroin, sold heroin to customers, and met with heroin customers to direct them to other locations for heroin transactions. Specifically, Shabari Fisher and Shateek Parker, who were leaders of the organization, obtained supplies of heroin and provided it to other members—including Garen Fisher, Shannon Walker, Tyrell Rudolph, Steven Williams, Rasheed Harrell, Carlos Reyes, Christian Parker, Vaugh McKinney, and Gary Sessoms—for further distribution to other drug dealers and drug users. Shabari Fisher and Shateek Parker also steered heroin customers to other members of the organization to conduct heroin transactions.

The Fisher Organization distributed heroin using, among other things, a succession of cell phones that individuals seeking heroin regularly called (the “dispatch phones”). Different members of the organization held the dispatch phones at different times, receiving calls from heroin customers and arranging to meet with them to conduct heroin transactions at locations in Poughkeepsie. The bags of heroin distributed by the Fisher Organization were often stamped with brand-like names, such as “True Religion,” “Gucci,” “Rated R,” “Red Bull,” “Coors Light,” “Scarface,” and “Bomb.”

In addition to the Fisher Organization defendants charged in the first Indictment, another defendant, Tony Jarrett, who is not a member of the organization, is also charged in a separate Indictment with distributing heroin in Poughkeepsie from July through September 2011.

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Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding work of the FBI, the Poughkeepsie Police Department, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Marshals Service Fugitive Unit, the New York State Police-CNET, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Newburgh Police Department, the Middletown Police Department, the Beacon Police Department, the Dutchess County Probation Office, the Dutchess County Jail, and the New York Department of Correctional Services. Mr. Bharara added that the investigation is ongoing.

The case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Benjamin Allee, Jeffrey Alberts, and Michael Gerber are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictments are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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