Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that DENNIS SICA was sentenced today in White Plains federal court to 35 years in prison for participating in a conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl, the use of which resulted in the deaths of three individuals: Anthony Delello, Laura Brown, and Thomas Miller. SICA was sentenced by United States District Judge Cathy Seibel.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Sica chose again and again, to sell lethal heroin laced with fentanyl for profit, even after realizing that his ‘Breaking Bad’ branded drugs were killing people. No sentence is going to bring back the three young people whose lives were cut short, but this prosecution hopefully brings some closure to their loved ones and causes others who peddle the poison of fentanyl-laced heroin not to make the same terrible choices Sica made.”
According to the allegations contained in the Indictment, the underlying criminal Complaint unsealed on June 19, 2014, and statements made during court proceedings:
From at least late 2013 to February 2014, SICA and others worked together in Dutchess County to sell a particularly potent form of heroin, bags of which were stamped with the brand name ‘Breaking Bad.’ At least some of the heroin distributed by SICA was laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is significantly stronger than street heroin.
On the night of December 28, 2013, SICA sold ‘Breaking Bad’ heroin to Anthony Delello, a 20-year-old resident of Beekman, New York. Delello snorted some of SICA’s heroin and was found dead by his girlfriend the following day. The Dutchess County Medical Examiner’s report concluded that he died from “acute heroin intoxication.”
Delello’s death did not stop SICA from selling ‘Breaking Bad’ heroin. Four days after Delello was found dead, SICA exchanged a series of text messages with a co-conspirator in which SICA urged the co-conspirator to delete the text message history in the phone they used to sell heroin and, if asked, to deny knowing anything about Delello or the manner of his death.
Slightly more than a month after Delello’s death, two more individuals died after overdosing on ‘Breaking Bad’ heroin. On February 1, 2014, Thomas Miller, 31, was found dead by his mother at his home in Pawling, New York. A hypodermic needle, as well as several glassine bags stamped with the words ‘Breaking Bad,’ were found near his body. Some of the glassine bags were full, others were empty. A chemical analysis of the contents of the full glassine bags showed that they contained a mixture of quinine, fentanyl, and heroin. The medical examiner’s report indicates that Miller died of “acute intoxication by the combined effects of heroin and fentanyl.”
The same day that Miller was found dead, Laura Brown, 35, was found dead of an apparent heroin overdose in New Milford, Connecticut. Brown was found with needles and glassine bags near her body. Several of the glassine bags were stamped with the words ‘Breaking Bad.’ The autopsy performed on Brown’s body showed that she died of “acute heroin and fentanyl intoxication.” According to Brown’s brother, he and Brown together bought ‘Breaking Bad’ heroin from SICA two days before Brown was found dead.
On February 2, 2014, SICA was arrested by state authorities in East Fishkill, New York, after a car in which he was riding was stopped by law enforcement. During a subsequent search of the car, law enforcement officers recovered several glassine bags stamped with a ‘Breaking Bad’ stamp identical to the one that appears on the envelopes recovered from Thomas Miller’s bedroom.
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SICA, 37, of Hopewell Junction, New York, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl resulting in death. In addition to the sentence of 35 years in prison, SICA was also sentenced to four years supervised release.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (“DEA”) Tactical Diversion Squad and the Dutchess County Drug Task Force. The DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad is comprised of agents and officers from the DEA, the New York City Police Department, the New York State Police, Town of Orangetown Police Department, and the Westchester County Police Department. The Dutchess County Drug Task Force is composed of the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department, the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department, the East Fishkill Police Department, and the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office. Mr. Bharara also thanked the New York State Police Forensics Unit, the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, and the police department for the City of New Milford, Connecticut, for their assistance in the investigation.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott Hartman and Benjamin Allee are in charge of the prosecution.