February 12, 2019
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-3900
Two more opioid dealers sentenced for their role in large drug conspiracy
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; New York Division, and U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr., announced that Robert J. Elford, 30, of Oneida, NY, who was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 100 grams or more of a fentanyl analogue, was sentenced to serve 121 months in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. In addition, Judge Geraci sentenced Deven Hill, 25, of Elmira, NY, to serve 37 months in prison for his conviction on a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, a fentanyl analogue.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey, who handled the case, stated that both defendants were part of a large-scale opioid manufacturing and trafficking organization that operated in the Southern Tier of New York between 2015 and May 2017. As members of the organization, Elford and Hill were street-level dealers of blue pills containing furanyl fentanyl in the Elmira area. The blue pills were manufactured by the leaders of the organization – Robert Ian Thatcher and Maximillian Sams – and made to look like legitimate 30 milligram Percocet pills.
Elford and Hill each admitted to selling pills to various customers, including a 25 year-old male who ultimately died of drug overdose from using the pills.
To date, 16 members and associates of the opioid manufacturing and trafficking operation have been convicted of federal narcotics offenses. Four defendants have been sentenced: Thatcher was sentenced to serve 23 years in federal prison; Thatcher’s girlfriend, Amber Bates, who was convicted of money laundering conspiracy, was sentenced to five years probation to include six months of home detention; Edward Barrett was sentenced to 90 months in prison; Dusty Pemberton was sentenced to 70 months in prison; and Isaiah McLaurin, who was convicted of witness tampering after threatening an individual working with the Drug Enforcement Administration on Facebook, was sentenced to serve 57 months in federal prison.
Today’s sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Rochester Resident Office and DEA Scranton PA Resident Office; the New York State Police, Community Narcotics Enforcement Team Southern Tier; the Elmira Police Department; Homeland Security Investigations; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, New York Field Division; the Pennsylvania State Police; the Chemung County Sheriff’s Office; the Iredell, NC County Sheriff’s Office; and Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Unit. Additional assistance was provided by the DEA Northeast Regional Laboratory.