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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 20, 2021

Narcotics Dealer Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Causing Overdose Death From Fentanyl

Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Dermot Shea, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing of an Indictment today charging MICHAEL KELLEHER with distributing fentanyl that resulted in the death of a victim (the “Victim”) on May 19, 2020, in the Bronx, New York.  KELLEHER and his codefendant MARK GONZALEZ are also charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, and using and carrying a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking offense.  KELLEHER was previously charged by a criminal complaint and arrested on March 5, 2021.  GONZALEZ was arrested this morning and will be presented before United States Magistrate Judge Robert W. Lehrburger tomorrow.  The case is assigned to United States District Judge Victor Marrero.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “As alleged, Michael Kelleher and Mark Gonzalez peddled lethal fentanyl, and Kelleher sold the dose that caused the death of a victim.  Working with the NYPD we will continue to combat the epidemic of lethal opioids.”

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said:  “Opioids have a well-known history of causing overdoses, destroying lives, and devastating communities. That’s why the NYPD and its law enforcement partners work tirelessly to rid our city of these and other deadly drugs and work tirelessly to prosecute those who sell them. I want to thank the investigators and prosecutors who worked on this investigation. It is their work that brings some measure of justice to this family who lost their loved one to a senseless overdose.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment, the underlying complaint for KELLEHER, and information in the public record[1]:

On May 19, 2020, the Victim was found dead in his home in the Bronx, New York.  Following an investigation by the NYPD, law enforcement agents identified KELLEHER as the dealer who sold the Victim pure fentanyl, which resulted in his death.  Following the Victim’s death, law enforcement officers acting in an undercover capacity purchased additional quantities of fentanyl from KELLEHER, and his supplier, GONZALEZ, which were packaged exactly like those found in the Victim’s residence on the day of his death.  KELLEHER and GONZALEZ also sold a firearm with a defaced serial number to an undercover law enforcement agent.

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KELLEHER, 35, and GONZALEZ, 43, both of the Bronx, New York, are each charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of fentanyl, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, and with use, carrying, and possession of a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking offense, which carries a mandatory minimum consecutive sentence of five years.  KELLEHER is also charged with narcotics distribution resulting in the death of the Victim, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the NYPD.  This case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Michael R. Herman is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 

 

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

Topic(s): 
Opioids
Contact: 
James Margolin, Nicholas Biase (212) 637-2600
Press Release Number: 
21-118
Updated May 20, 2021