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Justice News

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

Friday, November 1, 2019

New Jersey Man Charged In White Plains Federal Court With Narcotics Trafficking Resulting In Death

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Keith M. Corlett, Superintendent of the New York State Police (“NYSP”), and William Worden, Chief of the Port Jervis Police Department (“PJPD”), announced today an indictment charging ROBERT CIERVO with selling fentanyl and heroin that resulted in the death of a 36-year-old Orange County resident ("the Victim"). 

The indictment alleges that on or about July 3, 2019, CIERVO distributed heroin and fentanyl that resulted in the death of the Victim.  The indictment also alleges that CIERVO participated in a conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl between October 2018 and September 2019. The grand jury returned the indictment on October 29, 2019, and CIERVO was arraigned today before United States Magistrate Judge Paul E. Davison.

CIERVO previously was arrested on September 29, 2019, and charged by complaint in White Plains federal court with participating in a conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl with MARGARET FLOOD, 38, of Sparrow Bush, New York, ROBERT FLOOD, 39, of Sparrow Bush, New York, and TRAVIS HOPPER, 24, of Matamoras, Pennsylvania.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Robert Ciervo allegedly sold the fentanyl that killed an Orange County resident.  Now he faces prosecution for that crime and drug distribution conspiracy.  Thanks to the Port Jervis Police Department, the FBI, and the State Police for their tireless efforts to stem the tide of lethal opioids.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “Those who engage in the distribution of illegal drugs destroy our communities and ruin lives, and as we allege here today, the heroin and fentanyl Ciervo distributed indeed resulted in the victim's death.  This is another sad example of the reality we face – sellers pushing heroin laced with fentanyl to create a more powerful, and in this case, deadly high.  The FBI’s Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force, along with our federal, state, and local partners, will be relentless in doing everything we can to protect our communities from the scourge of these deadly substances.”

NYSP Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said:  “This indictment is the result of the dedication of law enforcement partners at all levels to stem the tide of drugs and drug related violence on our streets.  This defendant allegedly knowingly sold highly addictive substances to an individual that, sadly, resulted in the individual’s death.  The sale of drugs such as fentanyl and heroin perpetuate a cycle of substance abuse which poses a significant threat to safety and quality of life within our communities, and it will not be tolerated.  I commend our members and our law enforcement partners for their hard work in bringing this individual to justice.”

PJPD Chief William J. Worden said:  “The City of Port Jervis has been directly affected by the opiate epidemic and have tragically lost too many residents from fatal heroin/fentanyl related overdoses.  The Port Jervis City Police Department is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to combat the illicit sales of heroin and fentanyl that are harming our community and hold illicit narcotics traffickers legally accountable for their actions.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment and Complaint[1]:

CIERVO participated in a conspiracy to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin and more than 40 gram of mixtures and substances containing fentanyl, between October 2018 and September 2019.  In addition, on or about July 3, 2019, CIERVO distributed such substances to the Victim, and the Victim's use of the substances resulted in his death.

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CIERVO, 25, of Montague, New Jersey, has been charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute narcotics, which distribution resulted in the death of another.  This charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentence for the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding work of the FBI, the Port Jervis Police Department, and the New York State Police for their investigative efforts and ongoing support and assistance with the case.

The prosecution of this case is being overseen by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsey Keenan is in charge of the case.

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


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

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 
Updated November 4, 2019