November 06, 2018
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-2906
Heroin trafficking ring “investor” convicted at trial
ALBANY, N.Y. – A jury voted yesterday to convict Danielle Conners, age 33, of Plattsburgh, New York, of conspiracy to distribute heroin, following a six-day trial.
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; Acting Special Agent in Charge Keith Kruskall, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division; and Clinton County Sheriff David Favro.
The evidence at trial established that Kyle Touchstone, Melissa Kusalonis and others sold heroin in Plattsburgh. On May 21, 2017, Conners gave Touchstone and Kuslaonis $700 to purchase heroin, with the understanding that Touchstone and Kusalonis would double her money by selling the heroin. Telephone calls revealed that Conners' co-conspirators referred to her as an “investor” in the heroin trafficking conspiracy. In addition to providing Touchstone and Kuslonis with $700 to purchase heroin, Conners loaned her car to them so that they could pick up the heroin in Schenectady, New York, and then drove Touchstone and Kusalonis to sell the heroin in Plattsburgh. At the time of her arrest on May 25, 2017, Conners possessed $1,033 in cash, which was proceeds from the sale of heroin.
At sentencing scheduled for March 5, 2019, before United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino, Conners faces up to 20 years in prison, a term of post-release supervision of at least 3 years and up to life, and a maximum fine of $1 million.
Conners was charged along with nine other people in two related indictments pertaining to a heroin distribution ring that transported heroin from Schenectady and Annapolis, Maryland, and sold it in the Plattsburgh area. The nine other defendants have all pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute heroin:
- Kyle Touchstone, age 31, of Plattsburgh;
- Melissa Kusalonis, a.k.a. “Mel,” “Liss,” age 36, of Plattsburgh;
- Jimolo Coates, a.k.a. “Lo,” Marlo,” “Brodie,” age 25, of Annapolis;
- Tynaejah Thompson, a.k.a. “Naee,” age 20, of Annapolis;
- Kiara Scott, age 29, of Annapolis;
- Anthony DeFilippo, a.k.a “Flip,” age 37, of Schenectady;
- Charles Adams, a.k.a. “Chuck, age 33, of Peru, New York;
- Travynn Ippolito, a.k.a “Trav,” age 30, of Plattsburgh; and
- Luke Kiroy, age 33, of Saranac, New York.
The convictions are the result of a nearly year long investigation led by the DEA Task Force in Plattsburgh, which consists of law enforcement officers from the DEA, Homeland Security Investigations, United States Border Patrol, New York State Police, Clinton County Sherriff’s Office, Essex County Sheriff’s Office, and the Plattsburgh Police Department. The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision also assisted in the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cyrus P.W. Rieck and Katherine Kopita.