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Justice News

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

Monday, September 19, 2016

Major Narcotics Supplier For New Jersey Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced To 25 Years In Prison

TRENTON, N.J. – A Jersey City, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 300 months in prison for supplying heroin and cocaine to a large-scale drug trafficking organization that operated in Ocean and Monmouth Counties and elsewhere in New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Thomas Shannon, a/k/a “Cuzzo,” 37, was previously convicted of four counts of an indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and more than a kilogram of heroin, one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property. Shannon was convicted following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan, who imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

Between March and May 2014, 21 other individuals, including numerous alleged members of the drug trafficking organization to which Shannon supplied narcotics, were charged in two separate criminal complaints with conspiring to distribute heroin and other related offenses. The complaint referred to the drug trafficking organization as the “Britt-Young DTO,” after its leaders, Robert Britt, a/k/a “True,” and Rufus Young, a/k/a “Equan,” a/k/a “E-Money,” a/k/a “Kintock.” Of the 22 individuals charged, 21 have been convicted to date. 

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence presented at trial:

Between October 2013 and March 2014, Shannon conspired with others to distribute heroin and cocaine in Ocean and Monmouth counties, including to the Britt-Young DTO. Shannon obtained some of his narcotics from conspirators in California, who shipped packages containing large quantities of heroin and cocaine from California to Shannon in New Jersey.

The packages were sent to a residence in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and received by another conspirator, who then gave the packages to Shannon. Shannon then transported the packages to stash house locations that he controlled in Asbury Park and Long Branch, New Jersey, where he packaged and prepared the narcotics for distribution to other dealers. Shannon packaged some of the heroin in small plastic bags that were “stamped” with brand names or markings to distinguish it from other narcotics sold in or around the Monmouth County area.

To pay for the drug shipments, Shannon and others acting at his direction deposited cash into numerous third-party bank accounts provided by the conspirators in California, who then withdrew the cash at bank branch locations in California. 

Shannon used numerous cellular telephones to communicate with his conspirators, including through text messages, and he and his conspirators often spoke in code to disguise the illegal nature of their communications. For example, Shannon and a leader of the Britt-Young DTO referred to cocaine as “Kristine.” Shannon also acquired and possessed firearms in furtherance of the drug trafficking conspiracy, including a Smith and Wesson .38 caliber revolver and a Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. .40 caliber handgun.           

In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Shannon to five years of supervised released.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, Red Bank Resident Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark; officers of the Brick Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief James Riccio: and officers of the Toms River Police Department, under the direction of Chief Mitchell A. Little, with the investigation leading to today’s verdict.

He also thanked special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George P. Belsky; inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Maria L. Kelokates; officers of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni; and officers of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato.

He also thanked the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and the Neptune Township, Asbury Park, Marlboro, and Long Branch police departments for their roles in the case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Grippo and Brendan Day of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.

Defense Counsel:  Edward Bertucio Esq., Eatontown, New Jersey

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 
Updated September 19, 2016