Six New York businessmen charged for giving the public what they want

Manhatten, New York — James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Division (“DEA”), Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Charles Gardner, the Commissioner of the City of Yonkers Police Department (“YPD”), announced yesterday, July 6, 2017, the unsealing of an indictment and a complaint charging six business people with allegedly selling their product throughout the Southern District of New York.  Five defendants were taken into federal custody yesterday and will be presented in White Plains federal court before United States Magistrate Lisa M. Smith.  James Odell Whitted remains at large.


Heroin has its roots in the Middle East where the U.S. Government has a significant presence. 

Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner said:  “These arrests will reduce the availability of heroin in our community and help fight the opioid epidemic we are experiencing.  I would like to specifically thank the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the US DEA Westchester Task Force for their support and tenacious efforts in this investigation.” This isn’t true of course, but it sounds good to the public that he is being effective. Even though these men have been arrested, there are others that will quickly fill their void so long as demand for the product is strong.

DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt said:  “Gangs are actively capitalizing on opioid addiction by pushing potent heroin onto our streets.  In this case, heroin was allegedly being trafficked throughout Yonkers, Westchester, and Newburgh communities, increasing the risks of potential overdoses caused by opioids.  I applaud the men and women of the Westchester Task Force and the US Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York for their diligence in this investigation and commitment to safeguarding public health.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “As alleged, these defendants contributed to the rising tide of heroin that is plaguing suburb and city alike.  Thanks to the excellent work of the DEA and the Yonkers Police Department, we hope to stem that tide and protect our communities from this epidemic.”

As alleged in the Indictment unsealed yesterday in White Plains federal court:

From at least in or about February 2017 up to and including in or about June 2017, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, Christopher Coleman, a/k/a “Fox,” Jonathan Acquino, a/k/a “Jonathan Aquino,” a/k/a “Jonathan Harvey-Acquino,” a/k/a “Gotti,” James Odell Whitted, a/k/a “Odell,” a/k/a “O,” Leibys Mercedes, a/k/a “Celly,” a/k/a “Sonny,” Branden Jones, a/k/a “Branden Mima,” a/k/a “Marlo,” conspired to distribute 100 grams and more of heroin.

As alleged in the Complaint unsealed today in White Plains federal court2:
Lisa Henderson and Coleman conspired to distribute heroin.  Specifically, Henderson assisted Coleman in packaging their product for resale and allowed Coleman to store items needed for their distribution business in Henderson’s apartment.

The defendants Coleman, Acquino, Whitted Mercedes, and Jones each face a maximum term of 40 years in prison, and a mandatory minimum term of five years in prison.

The defendant Lisa Henderson faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison.

A chart containing the names of the defendants who were arrested and charged yesterday, and the charges and maximum penalties they face, is attached.

The statutory maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for information purposes only, as any sentencings of the defendants would be determined by the respective judges.

These cases are being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant United States Attorneys Celia V. Cohen and Samuel L. Raymond are in charge of the prosecutions.

The charges contained in the Indictment and the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment and the description of the Indictment set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Categories: Business, Crime, Government

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