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Justice News

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

Friday, July 29, 2016

Peekskill Man Sentenced To 15½ Years In Prison For Heroin Trafficking And Distributing Heroin And Fentanyl That Resulted In Death

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that LAKUAN RHYNE was sentenced yesterday to 186 months in prison for conspiring to distribute more than a kilogram of heroin in and around Westchester County during 2014, and distributing the heroin and fentanyl that resulted in the overdose death of an individual.  RHYNE pled guilty to a felony Information in White Plains federal court on April 21, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Nelson S. Román, who imposed sentence.

U.S. Attorney Bharara stated:  “Overdose deaths from opioid use have taken their toll in cities, small towns, and rural America.  The fentanyl-laced heroin sold by Lakuan Rhyne resulted in one of those tragic deaths, but Rhyne continued peddling this poison even after that.  For his callous crime, he has received an appropriately heavy sentence.”

According to the Information, statements made in open court, and other documents in the public record:

LAKUAN RHYNE, a/k/a “Rico,” was the central participant in a drug trafficking ring based 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 and powder cocaine, throughout Westchester County.  RHYNE and his associates sold their drugs out of cars, residences, and on the streets.  Some of the heroin distributed by RHYNE was laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is significantly stronger than both ordinary heroin and morphine.  Between February and July 2014, confidential informants acting at the direction of the FBI purchased over 100 grams of heroin from RHYNE during the course of approximately 20 controlled transactions.  In total, during the course of the conspiracy, RHYNE was responsible for distributing over a kilogram of heroin.

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.  Following Coogan’s death, of which RHYNE was aware, RHYNE continued to sell heroin.

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In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Román ordered RHYNE to forfeit $15,000, to pay $17,676.88 in restitution to the family of Thomas Coogan, and to pay a $100 special assessment fee.  RHYNE also was sentenced to five years of supervised release.

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.

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.

Drug Trafficking
Updated July 29, 2016