WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Two Hudson Valley men accused of distributing heroin, labeled “Breaking Bad,” that caused three overdose deaths, will be charged in White Plains federal court Thursday, according to U.S. District Attorney Preet Bharara.
Some of the heroin that Dutchess County residents Dennis Sica, 36, and John Rohlman, 25, are accused of distributing was laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times stronger than street heroin, Bharara said.
“Although the heroin and prescription painkiller epidemic may be breaking bad, we must aggressively make good on our collective obligation to stamp out this affliction,” he said. “No more half-measures. The lives of our children and the vitality of our communities depend on it.”
New York State law allows those convicted of selling narcotics to be sentenced to drug diversion programs, county jail or probation, which Bharara said Thursday isn’t good enough. He and other law enforcement agencies said they want a sentencing range of 20 years to life in prison, which is why the defendants will be prosecuted under federal law.
Sica and Rohlman are accused of working together to sell the “particularly potent” form of heroin from late 2013 to February 2014. The bags it was sold in were stamped with the name “Breaking Bad,” matching the popular AMC-TV show’s table of elements-inspired logo.
Of the three deaths, fentanyl was found in two of the victims – Thomas Miller, 31, and Laura Brown, 35 - both of whom injected the heroin, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
The first victim, Anthony Delello, 20, snorted it and died of “acute heroin intoxication.”
Bharara displayed images of a text conversation between Rohlman and Sica four days after Delello’s death, in which Sica told his alleged partner to delete the text message history in the phone they used to sell heroin and deny knowing about the victim or his death.
Both defendants are charged with narcotics conspiracy. In addition to 20 years to life in prison, they face a maximum fine of $1 million or twice the gain or loss resulting from the alleged crime.