Leader Of Poughkeepsie Heroin Ring That Operated Out Of A Cellphone Store Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison In White Plains Federal Court
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that SHABARI FISHER was sentenced in White Plains federal court to 15 years in prison for his leadership role in a drug conspiracy that distributed heroin across the City of Poughkeepsie, including out of a cellphone store on Main Street. FISHER pled guilty in October 2013 to one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin. He is one of 11 individuals charged by an Indictment in September 2012, six of whom have pleaded guilty. FISHER is the second defendant to be sentenced in the case by U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas. On December 6, 2013, Shateek Parker, the second-in-command of the heroin conspiracy, was sentenced by Judge Karas to 135 months in prison.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Shabari Fisher and his accomplices should have stuck with cellphones because they made a huge mistake when they decided to enter the grim business of selling heroin. They now know there is no safe front for peddling heroin and destroying lives, families, and communities. Today’s sentence is a clear signal: If you see in our Hudson Valley an opportunity to profit from drugs, then you are leading yourself and your followers to long terms behind bars.”
According to the Indictment and information presented for purposes of Fisher’s guilty plea and sentencing:
From at least January 2011 through September 2012, a drug trafficking organization (the “FISHER Organization” or the “organization”) was operating in Poughkeepsie, New York. The FISHER Organization distributed heroin at several locations in and around Poughkeepsie. The locus of the organization’s heroin distribution was a cellphone store on Main Street in Poughkeepsie. At the cellphone store, members of the conspiracy concealed heroin, sold heroin to customers, and met with heroin customers to direct them to other locations for heroin transactions. On September 27, 2013, during execution of a search warrant, FBI agents recovered a .44 caliber handgun and ammunition concealed in the front of the store.
The FISHER Organization distributed heroin using, among other things, a succession of cellphones that individuals seeking heroin regularly called (the “Dispatch Phones”). Different members of the FISHER Organization held the Dispatch Phones at different times, receiving calls from heroin customers and arranging to meet with the customers at locations in Poughkeepsie to conduct heroin transactions. The bags of heroin distributed by the Fisher Organization were often stamped with brand-like names, such as “True Religion,” “Gucci,” “Rated R,” “Red Bull,” “Coors Light,” “Scarface,” and “Bomb.”
FISHER and Parker, the defendants, were leaders of the FISHER Organization who directed the activity of other members. FISHER and Parker participated in, among other things, obtaining supplies of heroin, providing heroin to other members of the FISHER Organization for further distribution, and steering heroin customers who approached FISHER to other members of the organization to conduct heroin transactions.
In addition to his prison term, FISHER, 34, of Poughkeepsie, New York, was also sentenced to five years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay forfeiture of $100,000.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding work of the FBI, the Poughkeepsie Police Department, the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Marshal’s Service Fugitive Unit, the New York State Police – CNET, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Newburgh Police Department, the Middletown Police Department, the Beacon Police Department, the Dutchess County Probation Office, the Dutchess County Jail, and the New York Department of Correctional Services.
The charges against the remaining defendants contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin Allee and Michael Gerber are in charge of the prosecution.