Queens Man Charged in Superseding Indictment with Distributing Fentanyl Causing the Deaths of Two Persons
Newly Added Defendant Faces Related Money Laundering Charge
A 10-count superseding indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging David Wickham with distributing fentanyl thereby causing the deaths of a man and a woman, distributing heroin and fentanyl thereby causing serious bodily injury to a man, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The indictment charges Katelyn Trampler with possessing with intent to distribute, conspiring to distribute and distributing fentanyl and heroin. Wickham and newly added defendant Crystal Roberts are also charged with money laundering conspiracy. Roberts was arrested today and was ordered detained. Wickham and Trampler were previously arrested and are currently in custody. The defendants were arraigned this afternoon before United States District Judge Allyne R. Ross.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent-in-Charge, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York, and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the charges.
“As alleged, Wickham’s distribution of dangerous opioids resulted in the deaths of a man and a woman and the near-death of a second man,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “The defendants sought to profit from other people’s addictions and put their own greed ahead of the public’s health and safety. This Office and our law enforcement partners will not rest until drug dealers and their associates are stopped and brought to justice for their crimes.” Mr. Donoghue expressed his grateful appreciation to the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for its assistance in the investigation.
“These alleged criminals operated out of greed with no regard for the safety, or even life, of those they dealt fentanyl,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez. “HSI understands the seriousness of the opioid epidemic and will continue to work with our partners to investigate and arrests those dealing this highly addictive and deadly drug within our communities.”
“The NYPD’s efforts to combat the opioid crisis took a step forward today with this indictment,” stated NYPD Commissioner O’Neill. “Our detectives, along with the professionals at HSI and the Eastern District of New York, will stop at nothing to keep New Yorkers safe by identifying, aggressively investigating and arresting anyone who traffics in illegal narcotics and the violence so often associated with such criminal behavior.”
As alleged in the superseding indictment and other court filings, between January 2017 and February 2018, Wickham and Trampler distributed fentanyl and heroin. On several occasions, Wickham represented the narcotics to be heroin—a much less potent narcotic—when he was actually distributing fentanyl. On or about July 30, 2017, Wickham distributed fentanyl which resulted in the overdose deaths of a man and a woman. Later, on December 13, 2017, Wickham distributed heroin and fentanyl, which resulted in the overdose of a man, who was seriously injured but revived with Narcan. At the time of his arrest on February 27, 2018, Wickham, a convicted felon, possessed a Cobra Enterprises FS380 semi-automatic pistol. Between approximately October 2017 and February 2018, Wickham and Roberts conspired to wire money from the United States to Panama to further their narcotics trafficking and conceal the true nature and ownership of the drug money.
As part of the government’s investigation, agents recovered cellular telephones from the defendants, including Roberts’ telephone which contained several videos. In one video dated February 20, 2018, after speaking with a customer Roberts and Wickham engaged in the following conversation:
ROBERTS: He’s gonna end up dying. He’s gonna kill himself.
WICKHAM: Yeah, you see it in his face?
ROBERTS: Yup. You ever known, you ever seen death in the face?
Later in the conversation, Roberts stated: “I’m saying before he tries to kill himself, he’s going to give me some bread. I don’t have time for that. You can kill yourself if you want to, I don’t want you to, but this is the game we play, and you’re going to have to give me some bread cause you took too much and your man’s took too much.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Justice, drug overdoses have become the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. The increase in overdose deaths has been driven in large part by fentanyl—a drug that has been described as 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. In New York, from 2014 to 2015, fentanyl overdose deaths rose 135 percent, while heroin overdose deaths rose 28 percent. According to the CDC’s latest report analyzing overdose deaths nationally, in 2016 synthetic opioid deaths—which includes fentanyl—more than doubled from 9,580 in 2015 to 19,413 in 2016.
The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Wickham faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment for both the death-resulting and the serious bodily injury-resulting charges and up to life imprisonment. Roberts faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment and Trampler up to 40 years’ imprisonment.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section. Assistant United States Attorney Nomi D. Berenson is in charge of the prosecution.
DAVID WICKHAM (also known as “Wick” and “Dogg”)
Queens, New York
Queens, New York
CRYSTAL ROBERTS (also known as “Crystal Wickham”)
Queens, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-72 (S-1) (ARR)