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Press Release

Peekskill Man Pleads Guilty In White Plains Federal Court To Heroin Conspiracy And Admits Distributing Heroin And Fentanyl That Resulted In Death

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that LAKUAN RHYNE pled guilty to conspiring to distribute more than a kilogram of heroin in and around Westchester County during 2014.  RHYNE admitted that in the course of the conspiracy, on January 26, 2014, in Peekskill, New York, he sold heroin and fentanyl that resulted in the overdose death of an individual.  RHYNE pled guilty to a felony Information today in White Plains federal court before U.S. District Judge Nelson S. Román.

U.S. Attorney Bharara stated:  “Overdose deaths from heroin and fentanyl have become tragically too frequent in many of our communities.  As he admitted today, Lakuan Rhyne sold fentanyl-laced heroin that resulted in the overdose death of a 23-year old man.  Rhyne’s guilty plea today serves as a reminder of the destruction that follows the heroin and fentanyl trade.”

According to the allegations in the Information and other information in the public record:

LAKUAN RHYNE, a/k/a “Rico,” was a leader of a drug trafficking ring centered in Westchester County, New York.  From early 2014 through the fall of 2014, RHYNE and his associates conspired to distribute significant quantities of heroin, as well as crack cocaine and powder cocaine, in and around Westchester County.  RHYNE and his associates sold their drugs out of cars, residences, and on the streets.  At least some of the heroin distributed by RHYNE was laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is significantly stronger than both ordinary heroin and morphine.

On the evening of January 26, 2014, in the parking lot of a restaurant in Peekskill, New York, RHYNE supplied a mixture containing heroin and fentanyl to an associate for the purpose of selling that mixture to a customer.  That customer was Thomas Coogan, a 23-year-old from Buchanan, New York.  Later that night, Coogan used the fentanyl-laced heroin supplied by RHYNE, and died as a result.

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RHYNE, 24, of Peekskill, New York, pled guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute at least one kilogram of heroin, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.

RHYNE is scheduled to be sentenced on July 21, 2016.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding work of the FBI, the Westchester County Northern Narcotics Initiative, which includes the Westchester County Department of Public Safety and the police departments of Peekskill, Croton-on-Hudson, Buchanan, Bedford, Yorktown, Mount Kisco, and Ossining, as well as the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force.  Mr. Bharara also thanked the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office for its assistance. 

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys George Turner and Michael Gerber are in charge of the prosecution.

Updated April 21, 2016

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 16-093