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NEW YORK NEWS

February 08, 2017
Contact: Public Information Officer
Number: 212-337-2906
@DEANewYorkDiv

Long Island Man Charged With Distributing Heroin That Caused the Death of a 20-Year-Old College Student

FEB 08 (BROOKLYN, N.Y.)  - A three-count indictment was unsealed today in United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York charging Richard Jacobellis, 23, from Ridge, N.Y., with distributing heroin that caused the death of 20-year-old Nicholas Weber, and conspiring with others to distribute heroin. Jacobellis was arrested earlier today in Ridge, and his arraignment will be this afternoon before United States District Judge Joanna Seybert at the United States Courthouse in Central Islip, N.Y. If convicted, the defendant faces a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life.

The charges were announced jointly by James J. Hunt, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division, Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Timothy D. Sini, Police Commissioner, Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD).

“A life lost too soon paved law enforcement’s trail to a drug dealer’s door. DEA investigates sources of supply worldwide as well as the local sources responsible for pushing heroin and fentanyl into our communities,” Hunt stated. “Two months ago, DEA quickly turned an online tip into a high priority, joint investigation with the Suffolk County Police Department and the Eastern District of New York that identified the alleged drug dealer who caused the death of twenty-year-old Nicholas Weber. This arrest serves as a reminder to drug dealers that they will eventually face the consequences of their actions.”

“As alleged, the defendant is a drug dealer who for years peddled poisonous heroin to Long Islanders,” Capers said. “The heroin epidemic on Long Island has cut short far too many young lives, like Nicholas.  To those heroin dealers who flood our streets with this highly addictive narcotic, be forewarned: if you sell heroin, my office and our law enforcement partners will prosecute you.”

“As I’ve made clear on numerous occasions, we will stop at nothing to hold drug dealers accountable for their depraved indifference to human life,” Sini added.  This prosecution is the culmination of a multi-jurisdictional investigation, which sends a clear message to dealers in Suffolk County: every time you sell heroin in this county, you risk spending the rest of your life in prison.”

As detailed in the indictment and court filings, Jacobellis distributed heroin on Long Island from 2012 to the present. Jacobellis’s heroin has caused the death of one young man and nearly killed another. Indeed, in March 2015, one of Jacobellis’s drug customers overdosed after using heroin that Jacobellis sold to him; fortunately, SCPD officers were able to quickly administer Naloxone, a nasal spray that reverses the effect of an opioid overdose, and save that young man’s life.

Undeterred, Jacobellis continued selling heroin to Long Island residents, according to the indictment. As charged, on May 17, 2016, Jacobellis drove from his home in Ridge to Kings Park and sold $100 of heroin to Weber. Weber used that heroin and died shortly thereafter. Nicholas Weber was a graduate of Kings Park High School. While in high school, he was the Suffolk County wrestling champion for his weight class, and upon graduation, he was attending Suffolk County Community College and had been accepted to Stony Brook University where he was going to study physics starting in the fall of 2016.

According to the indictment and court filings, despite learning that his heroin killed Weber, the defendant continued to sell heroin up until a few weeks ago. Indeed, in mid-January 2017, a confidential informant who was working with law enforcement contacted the defendant for the purpose of arranging a heroin transaction. The defendant agreed to sell heroin to the confidential informant. Shortly thereafter, the defendant met the confidential informant and consummated the transaction.

The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This investigation was conducted by the SCPD and DEA’s Long Island District Office Task Force comprising agents and officers of the DEA, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Nassau County Police Department, Suffolk County Police Department, Nassau County Police Department, Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office and the Hempstead Police Department.  The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Section. Assistant United States Attorney Christopher C. Caffarone is in charge of the prosecution.

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