Trenton Man Faces Federal Charges in Heroin Ring Investigation
After a two-year investigation, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York William Hochul, Jr. announced the arrests of eight people, including a Trenton man, on federal drug charges related to alleged heroin distribution from Elmira, New York to points in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Authorities claim to have evidence gathered from two informants, wiretaps, undercover surveillance, and undercover drug purchases. All defendants face a minimum of 10 years to life in prison.
Authorities have charged all suspects with:
- Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute
- Distribution of one kilogram or more of a substance containing heroin
- Possession with intent to distribute heroin
- Distribution of heroin
- Use of a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking
Five suspects are also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. Although three people who were known customers of the heroin ring died of overdoses in the course of the investigation, no suspects have as yet been linked to the deaths.
While state and local law enforcement made significant contributions to the investigations, no state drug charges have been brought against the defendants. As Chemung County District Attorney Weeden Wetmore explained, “The federal government can get much more jail time on convictions. We can get a bigger bang for our buck on the federal side. If we can put people away for a significant time, it benefits all of us.”
That’s a significant admission. Anyone who gets caught up in a drug investigation should be aware of the difference between state and federal charges, and the authorities’ determination to not only solve a crime but also to put suspects away in prison for the maximum time possible. Faced with that reality, a defendant must choose a defense attorney with substantial experience and success in federal criminal court.