The Northern Westchester Examiner

Peekskill Man Gets 15 Years in Jail for Heroin Trafficking

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A Peekskill man was sentenced to 15 years in prison last week for distributing more than a kilogram of heroin in and around Westchester during 2014 that led to the overdose death of a 23-year-old Buchanan man.

Lakuan Rhyne, who pled guilty to felony charges in federal court in April, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Nelson Roman to pay $17,678 in restitution to the family of Thomas Coogan, the Buchanan resident who met Rhyne January 26, 2014 in the parking lot of a restaurant in Peekskill to receive a mixture of heroin and fentanyl. Later that night, Coogan died after using the fentanyl-laced heroin.

“Overdose deaths from opioid use have taken their toll in cities, small towns, and rural America,” said Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. “The fentanyl-laced heroin sold by Lakuan Rhyne resulted in one of those tragic deaths, but Rhyne continued peddling this poison even after that. For his callous crime, he has received an appropriately heavy sentence.”

According to Bharara, Rhyne, a/k/a “Rico,” was the central participant in a drug trafficking ring where he and his associates conspired to distribute large quantities of heroin, crack and powder cocaine in Westchester. Rhyne and his associates allegedly sold their drugs out of cars, residences and on the streets. Some of the heroin distributed by Rhyne was laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid significantly stronger than ordinary heroin and morphine.

Between February and July 2014, confidential informants acting on the direction of the FBI purchased more than 100 grams of heroin from Rhyne during the course of approximately 20 controlled transactions.

Besides the FBI and Westchester County Department of Public Safety, police officers from Peekskill, Croton-on-Hudson, Buchanan, Yorktown, Ossining, Mount Kisco and Bedford participated in busting Rhyne.

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