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Press Release

Albany Felon Admits to Possessing Cocaine and Heroin for Distribution, and Possessing a Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Rodney Matthews, age 49, of Albany, pled guilty today to possessing and intending to distribute cocaine and heroin, and to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman; Janeen DiGuiseppi, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and Chief Eric Hawkins of the Albany Police Department (APD).

As part of his plea, Matthews admitted to possessing 306 grams of cocaine and 95 grams of heroin at his apartment in Albany, as well as approximately $12,000, which represented the proceeds of his drug trafficking.  Matthews, a previously convicted felon, further admitted to possessing a loaded, privately manufactured .357 caliber semi-automatic pistol (a/k/a a “ghost gun”) in order to guard against the potential theft of his drugs and proceeds.  Matthews was initially arrested by APD officers after he was observed firing the pistol into a telephone pole outside of his residence. 

Matthews faces at least 5 years and up to life in prison, a fine of up to $1 million, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of at least 3 years and up to life, when he is sentenced on February 22, 2023, by Senior United States District Judge Gary L. Sharpe.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.

This case was investigated by the FBI and its Capital District Safe Streets Gang Task Force, which includes FBI Special Agents and members of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including APD.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emmet O’Hanlon.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Updated October 26, 2022

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses