Rutland Man Sentenced to 60 Months and Ordered to Pay $40,000 Fine for Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin
The United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Kwasi Asante, 59, of Rutland, was sentenced December 6, 2017, in United States District Court in Burlington to 60 months of imprisonment following his guilty plea to charges of Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin and Bulk Cash Smuggling. Chief United States District Judge Christina Reiss also ordered that Asante pay a $40,000 fine. As part of his plea, Asante also agreed to the forfeiture of more than $27,000. Asante will serve three years of supervised release following the completion of his prison sentence. Asante had been in the custody of the United States Marshals Service since January 2017.
Court records indicate that Asante was not a heroin addict, and that he possessed a graduate degree in engineering. According to Court filings, since 2014 Asante conspired with Jaiden Paige and others to distribute heroin in the Rutland area. Court documents indicate that when Asante was arrested on February 1, 2016, at Newark Airport in New Jersey, he was in the process of boarding a flight to Jamaica, flying on a one-way ticket. He possessed approximately $23,000 in cash, more than $10,000 of which was hiding in his luggage next to lunchmeat.
In January 2017, Asante pleaded guilty to a Superseding Information charging him with conspiring to distribute heroin from 2014 to February 2016, as well as failing to report that he was leaving the United States with more than $10,000 in United States currency.
Asante was originally released after posting $150,000 bail (which was later reduced to $140,000), but was taken into custody after his guilty plea in January 2017.
This was Asante's first felony conviction. Court papers described his criminal history as negligible.
This case was investigated by the Vermont State Police Drug Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Asante is represented by Paul Volk. The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Drescher.