A Jersey City man was convicted by a federal jury today for his role as a heroin and cocaine supplier to a large-scale drug trafficking organization that operated in Ocean and Monmouth Counties and elsewhere in New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Thomas Shannon, also known as “Cuzzo,” 37, was convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and more than a kilogram of heroin, possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property.
Shannon was convicted following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan in Trenton federal court. The jury deliberated for three hours before returning the verdict.
Between March and May 2014, 21 other individuals, including numerous alleged members of the drug trafficking organization to which Shannon supplied narcotics, were charged in two separate criminal complaints with conspiring to distribute heroin and other related offenses.
The complaint referred to the drug trafficking organization as the “Britt-Young DTO,” after its leaders, Robert Britt, also known as “True,” and Rufus Young, also known as “Equan,” “E-Money,”or “Kintock.”
Of the 22 individuals charged, 21 have been convicted to date.
Between October 2013 and March 2014, Shannon conspired with others to distribute heroin and cocaine in Ocean and Monmouth counties, including to the Britt-Young DTO.
Shannon obtained some of his narcotics from conspirators in California, who shipped packages containing large quantities of heroin and cocaine from California to Shannon in New Jersey.
The packages were sent to a residence in Perth Amboy and received by another conspirator, who then gave the packages to Shannon. Shannon then transported the narcotics to stash house locations that he controlled in Asbury Park and Long Branch, where he packaged the heroin and cocaine and prepared it for distribution to other dealers.
Shannon packaged some of the heroin in small plastic bags that were “stamped” with brand names or markings to distinguish it from other narcotics sold in or around the Monmouth County area.
To pay for the drug shipments, Shannon and others acting at his direction deposited cash into numerous third-party bank accounts provided by the conspirators in California, who then withdrew the cash at bank branch locations in California.
Additionally, Shannon used numerous cellular telephones to communicate with his conspirators, including through text messages, and he and his conspirators often spoke in code to disguise the illegal nature of their communications.
For example, Shannon and a leader of the Britt-Young DTO referred to cocaine as “Kristine.” Shannon also acquired and possessed firearms in furtherance of the drug trafficking conspiracy, including a Smith and Wesson .38 caliber revolver and a Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. .40 caliber handgun.
The conspiracy count carries a minimum potential penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life in prison, and a $10 million fine. The possession of controlled substances count with which Shannon is charged carries a minimum potential penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years in prison, and a $5 million fine.
The possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense count carries a minimum potential penalty of five years in prison and a maximum of life in prison, which must be served consecutive to any sentence imposed in connection with the underlying drug trafficking offenses.
The engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property count carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 30, 2016.