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Justice News

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

Friday, February 3, 2017

Manhattan U.S. Attorney And NYPD Commissioner Announce Arrest Of Narcotics Dealer Responsible For Heroin Overdose Death

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing of a complaint charging FABRICE DIAZ, 24, with narcotics dealing that resulted in the overdose death of a 25-year-old man.

The complaint alleges that DIAZ participated in a conspiracy to distribute heroin, and that heroin distributed by DIAZ resulted in the death of Robert Vivolo, age 25, of the Bronx, New York, on October 21, 2016. DIAZ was arrested this morning and will be presented later today in Manhattan federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker. DIAZ faces a mandatory minimum term of 20 years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Once again, we are confronted with the lethal effects of the opioid abuse epidemic. As alleged, Fabrice Diaz sold the heroin that sadly killed Robert Vivolo. Thanks to the outstanding partnership with the New York City Police Department, we seek to combat the deadly opioid crisis one alleged drug dealer at a time.”

According to the Complaint[1]:

From at least in or about October 2016 up to January 2017, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, FABRICE DIAZ and others conspired to sell heroin. As part of that conspiracy, on or about October 21, 2016, DIAZ exchanged text messages with Robert Vivolo, a 25-year-old heroin addict who lived on City Island, in the Bronx, New York. In those messages, DIAZ arranged to sell heroin to Vivolo, and DIAZ delivered heroin to Vivolo’s home. A short time later, Vivolo overdosed on that heroin and died.


After Vivolo’s death, DIAZ was arrested on separate charges in New Rochelle, New York, on or about January 11, 2017, in possession of 17 envelopes of heroin.


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DIAZ faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The statutory maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for information purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by a judge.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the NYPD. Mr. Bharara also thanked the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and the New Rochelle Police Department for their assistance in the investigation. Mr. Bharara noted that the investigation remains ongoing.


This matter is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorney David W. Denton Jr. is in charge of the prosecution.


The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint, and the description of the Complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Press Release Number: 
Updated February 3, 2017