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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Jury Convicts Syracuse Man In Heroin And Crack Cocaine Conspiracy

Derrick Wilson Was Last of Thirteen Defendants

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – A federal jury today convicted Derrick Wilson, a/k/a D-Ellis and Sonny Black, age 36, of Syracuse, of participating in a heroin and crack cocaine conspiracy, following a week-long trial.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian, Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, New York Division, Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) and Syracuse Police Chief Frank L. Fowler.

“This verdict is the culmination of a long investigation into the conduct of people who poisoned our community and destroyed lives by pushing large quantities of heroin and crack cocaine,” stated United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian. “Thanks to law enforcement collaboration, the leader and all twelve other charged defendants have been convicted, and this drug crew has been dismantled.  We are committed to continuing to work together to take drug dealers off the streets of Syracuse and beyond.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt stated, “Heroin and crack cocaine trafficking is a scourge throughout American cities, large and small.  No city is immune from drug addiction as long as there are drug suppliers profiting off the sale of poison.  Today's conviction of Derrick Wilson has sent a message to drug traffickers that their illegal profit off drug sales will only lead them to jail and long prison sentences.  I commend the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District, the Syracuse Police Department and the DEA’s Syracuse Resident Office for their diligent efforts throughout this investigation, prosecution and conviction.”

Syracuse Police Chief Frank L. Fowler stated, “Our department is pleased with the outcome of this federal prosecution. Our joint efforts will make Syracuse safer and we intend to continue these efforts against those that deal or traffic in drugs in our communities. We look forward to continuing our joint efforts in the coming year.”

Wilson faces at least 20 years and up to life in prison when he is sentenced on May 20, 2016 by Chief United States District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The evidence at trial, some of which was obtained through court-ordered wiretaps, showed that: Wilson was the head of a conspiracy to distribute large quantities of crack cocaine and heroin in the Syracuse area from April 2013 through June 18, 2014, when arrests were made; Wilson made arrangements for heroin and cocaine powder from New York City to be delivered to him in Syracuse; Wilson had the cocaine powder processed into crack cocaine and packaged for sale; Wilson had the heroin packaged in distinctly marked plastic bags for “branding” purposes and distribution; and Wilson had members of the conspiracy sell the crack cocaine and heroin.  

Wilson represented himself during the trial, with an assigned attorney present to advise him on legal matters.  He was the last of thirteen defendants to be convicted of participating in this conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine.  Wilson’s twelve co-defendants all pled guilty and six of them have been sentenced, while six are scheduled to be sentenced in February and March, as follows:





Jeffrey Dowdell


Syracuse, NY

Scheduled for 2/25/2016

Tashawn Albert


Syracuse, NY

Scheduled for 2/26/2016

Kyle Dowdell


Syracuse, NY

Scheduled for 2/12/2016

Quonta Albert


Syracuse, NY

60 months

General Davis, Jr.


Clay, NY

130 months

Willie Strong, Jr.


Liverpool, NY

120 months

Jamall Harris


Syracuse, NY

Scheduled for 3/4/2016

James Handford


Syracuse, NY

120 months

Zephaneea Dowdell


Syracuse, NY

Scheduled for 3/1/2016

Lashandrea Johnson


Syracuse, NY

13 months

James Hudson


Syracuse, NY

60 months

Darnyl Apgar


Syracuse, NY

Scheduled for 2/29/2016


This case was investigated by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) and the Syracuse Police Department, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carla Freedman and Nicolas Commandeur.

Drug Trafficking
Updated January 21, 2016