Drug Enforcement Administration

New York

Acting Special Agent in Charge Keith Kruskall , Special Agent in Charge

June 18, 2018

Contact: Erin Mulvey

Phone Number: (212) 337-3900

Long Island man pleads guilty to distributing heroin that caused the death of a college student

Defendant sold heroin that killed one victim and caused serious injury to another

(BROOKLYN, NY) - Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, Richard Jacobellis pleaded guilty to distributing heroin, further admitting that he distributed heroin that resulted in the death of 20-year-old Nicholas Weber in 2016 and serious bodily injury to Frances Theiling in 2015. As part of his guilty plea, Jacobellis agreed to a specific sentence of 192 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release, subject to the Court’s approval. Today’s proceeding was held before United States District Judge Joanna Seybert. 

“Jacobellis admitted to poisoning people on Long Island by distributing heroin for years, even after his drugs took one life and nearly took another,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “The defendant’s conviction in this case will not bring back Nicholas Weber, but it will send a message to others who may consider selling drugs that this Office will bring to justice those who contribute to the opioid epidemic and hold them accountable for the harm they cause.” Mr. Donoghue thanked the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Suffolk County Police Department (“SCPD”) for their partnership and outstanding work on the case. 

According to court filings and the defendant’s statements during his guilty plea, Jacobellis was selling narcotics as early as 2012. In 2015, the defendant provided heroin that nearly killed then-18-year-old Frances Theiling, who was saved by SCPD officers. One year later, knowing that he had almost killed Theiling, Jacobellis sold the heroin that killed Nicholas Weber, a 20-year-old student. Although Jacobellis was aware that his heroin had killed Weber, the defendant continued to sell heroin until shortly before his arrest in February 2017. 

Weber, a graduate of Kings Park High School, was a champion wrestler who attended Suffolk County Community College. Before his death in May 2016, Weber had been admitted to Stony Brook University, where he intended to study physics, for the fall 2016 semester. 

The investigation was conducted by the DEA’s Long Island District Office, Group D-12 consisting of agents and officers of the DEA, Suffolk County Police Department, Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office and the Hempstead Police Department. The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher C. Caffarone and Nicholas Moscow are in charge of the prosecution. 

The Defendant: 
RICHARD JACOBELLIS 
Age: 24 
Ridge, New York 
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-052 (S-1)(JS)

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