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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Heroin Dealer Convicted In Manhattan Federal Court For Overdose Death Of 25-Year-Old Man

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that FRANKIE BEQIRAJ was found guilty yesterday of conspiracy to distribute heroin resulting in the death of Robert Vivolo, a 25-year-old man from City Island, New York.  BEQIRAJ was also convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, oxycodone, and alprazolam.  A unanimous jury convicted BEQIRAJ after a five-day trial before United States District Judge Richard M. Berman.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As proven at trial, Frankie Beqiraj peddled poison to the community of City Island and its vicinity, causing one of his many victims to die from a tragic overdose.  The verdict should send a message to those who flood our community’s streets with lethal drugs.  We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to prosecute and convict criminals seeking to profit from the current public health crisis afflicting our city.”

According to court documents and the evidence at trial:

From at least in or about July 2016 up to and including in or about January 2017, BEQIRAJ was the principal drug supplier of the small Bronx community of City Island.  BEQIRAJ employed workers, who were themselves heroin addicts supplied by BEQIRAJ, to deliver narcotics to his customers using prepaid phones supplied by BEQIRAJ.  These workers were paid their salaries in money and heroin.  Through his organization, BEQIRAJ distributed heroin, cocaine, oxycodone, and alprazolam.

On October 21, 2016, BEQIRAJ sold heroin to Robert Vivolo, a recovering heroin addict, on City Island, New York.  BEQIRAJ’s heroin caused Vivolo to die from an overdose that night.

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FRANKIE BEQIRAJ, 28, of the Bronx, New York, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a mandatory minimum term of 20 years in prison.

The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.  BEQIRAJ is scheduled to be sentenced on September 27, 2018 before Judge Berman.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman praised the outstanding work of the New York City Police Department’s Bronx Narcotics Heroin Overdose Team, the New Rochelle Police Department, and the Special Agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

This matter is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys David W. Denton Jr., and Elizabeth A. Hanft are in charge of the prosecution.         

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Press Release Number: 
18-192
Updated June 12, 2018