New York City Men Sentenced to Lengthy Prison Terms for Leading Large Drug and Fraud Organization in Vermont and Maine
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Gary Delima, 28, of Copiague, New York, and Sharif Cargo, 28, of Brooklyn, New York, were sentenced today for conspiring to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin, and 28 grams of cocaine base, and for conspiring to commit access device fraud. Chief District Judge Christina Reiss sentenced Delima to a 156-month term of incarceration for the drug trafficking offense, and a concurrent 63-month term of incarceration for the fraud offense. Chief Judge Reiss sentenced Cargo to a 132-month term of incarceration for the drug trafficking offense, and a concurrent 57-month term of incarceration for the fraud offense.
According to Court records, Delima and Cargo were the leaders and organizers of a large drug trafficking organization that imported heroin and cocaine base to multiple cities in Vermont and Maine for distribution from approximately the fall of 2012 until March of 2015. Utilizing the alias “Jeff,” both Delima and Cargo communicated by telephone with the customers in Vermont, and directed them to meet with their coconspirators at various locations in Burlington. Delima and Cargo utilized local addicts to function as hosts for their out-of-state coconspirators, providing safe-harbor for their drugs. Law enforcement linked Delima and Cargo’s drug distribution activities to at least one overdose death.
In addition to drug trafficking, Delima and Cargo engaged in sex trafficking, acting as the pimps for various women engaged in prostitution in Vermont, New York, and Pennsylvania. Delima and Cargo used the physical and emotional pain of heroin withdrawal as a coercive tool to force women to engage in additional acts of prostitution.
After a coordinated law enforcement operation that involved numerous law enforcement agencies in the states of Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and New York, Delima and Cargo were arrested at a residence in Lewiston, Maine. A search of the residence revealed approximately 300 counterfeit credit cards, and various equipment used to manufacture counterfeit credit cards. Law enforcement also obtained a search warrant for Delima’s residence in Copiague, where agents discovered numerous emaciated dogs and apparatus used to train dogs for the purpose of dog fighting.
Acting United States Attorney Eugenia A. P. Cowles commended the investigative efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Burlington, Vermont Police Department; the Winooski, Vermont Police Department; the South Burlington, Vermont Police Department; the St. Albans, Vermont Police Department; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Rutland, Vermont Police Department; the Vermont State Police; the Lewiston, Maine Police Department; the United States Secret Service; and the New York City Police Department, in the successful arrests and prosecutions of Delima, Cargo, and twenty-one other related defendants.
Delima was represented by Brooks McArthur, Esq. and David Williams, Esq. Cargo was represented by Thomas Sherrer, Esq. The United States was represented in the District of Vermont by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan A. Ophardt, and in the District of Maine by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel J. Perry.