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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 28, 2016

Murderer Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court To 34 Years In Prison

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James J. Hunt, Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), announced the sentencing yesterday of JAMES SMITH, a/k/a “Heavy D,” to 34 years in prison in connection with the 2011 murder of Danny Ulerio Lora (“Lora”) during an attempted drug robbery.   

SMITH was arrested for the Lora murder on November 22, 2013, via a federal writ from FCI Fairton, where he was serving a sentence on an unrelated federal Hobbs Act robbery charge.  On December 14, 2015, SMITH waived indictment and pled guilty before the Honorable Richard M. Berman to a three-count Superseding Information charging him with: (1) conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, (2) conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 5 kilograms and more of cocaine, and (3) the February 16, 2011, murder of Lora in Newark, New Jersey, by the discharge of a firearm. 

SMITH and his co-conspirators carried out the brutal murder of Lora during the course of a botched attempt to steal kilogram-quantities of cocaine from Lora.

On July 27, 2016, SMITH appeared before Judge Berman, and was sentenced principally to 34 years in prison in connection with the aforementioned charges.            

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Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA’s REDRUM group. 

The Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit is overseeing the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Justina L. Geraci is in charge of the prosecution.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
16-210
Updated July 28, 2016