Heroin dealer from New York City gets 15 years

A New York City man who supervised a crew of dealers selling heroin to users in Williamsport and the region received a 15-year federal prison sentence Wednesday in U.S. Middle District Court.

Larry Eason, 36, supplied heroin obtained in New York to 11 others who sold it to dealers and users from 2013 to 2015, according to U.S. Middle District Judge Matthew W. Brann.

Before pronouncing his sentence, Brann said to Eason, “I consider you a menace to society … you have been … you may not be going forward.”

In December 2016, Eason pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, Brann said.

Prosecutors in the case indicate the amount of heroin brought in was 1 to 3 kilograms or, conservatively speaking, $300,000 worth of narcotics over the years, according to city police sources.

In one instance, the heroin was described as the size of a “softball,” according to the court record.

Heroin sells for $5 to $15 per bag on the street and a kilogram is 1,000 grams, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Nicknamed “Tree,” Eason led several co-defendants in the conspiracy, all of whom have pleaded guilty, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney George J. Rocktashel.

Co-defendants were identified in court documents as Terrell Smalls, Najee Baker-Howard, Caine Weidler, Latia Gilliland, Yamir Smith, Quidirah Allen, Jordan Hull, Permeshwar Singh, David Ashby and Andrea Qualtrough.

When Eason arrived in Williamsport, he was selling drugs in New York and Burlington, Vermont, according to court documents.

Eason stayed with Smalls, Baker-Howard and others who also were from New York, the documents stated.

When Eason traveled to New York, he supplied heroin to Baker-Howard, Weidler, Smith and several others, according to the court record.

Eason advised Smalls by telephone about which customers wanted heroin, the court documents stated.

When he was in New York, Eason left supplies of heroin with Gilliland at a residence on Second Street, and then Gilliland would provide the drug to customers, according to the court record.

In July 2014, Baker-Howard began building up a network of customers who called to order heroin and Eason initially fronted him a few bundles, which sold for $80 each, according to the court record.

In a short time, Eason began supplying Baker-Howard with three “bricks,” or 50-bag packages, of heroin each week, the record stated.

Eason and Baker-Howard also bagged heroin at other locations, including in the 600 block of Sixth Avenue and another residence on Memorial Avenue, according to the court record.

That summer, Eason asked Smith to collect heroin proceeds for him while Eason was in Puerto Rico. Smith then collected the cash and wire-transferred some of the funds to Eason, according to the court documents.

Eason then asked Smith to package four to five “bricks” at a time, which Eason delivered to customers, the record states.

Additionally, Eason asked that Smith store heroin at residences at Market and Oakland streets but moved it to the residence he shared with Allen on Locust Street, the court documents said.

Eason also had Hull and Weidler sell heroin for him and Qualtrough would exchange 40 prescription Percocet pills for 40 bags of heroin, the court record said.

Eason traveled to New York at least once every two weeks for additional supplies of heroin, and he eventually became acquainted with Singh, according to the court documents.

Eason received what appeared to be a softball-size piece of heroin from Singh, the record stated. When they arrived in Williamsport, Eason, Hull, Weidler went to Smith’s house on Locust Street, where they ground up and diluted the heroin with sugar and then bagged up the drug, the record said.

“He rolled up his sleeves and helped bag heroin to get it to customers,” Rocktashel said.

Eason also stored guns at Smith’s Locust Street residence, the court record said. The organization was broken up by a multi-agency investigation, according to district U.S. Attorney Bruce D. Brandler.

Heroin was stored and packaged at four houses in Williamsport.

Eason also made sure the crew was armed, obtaining multiple guns, including a pistol with a laser sight, from drug customers and through individuals who bought them at local gun dealers. He carried a small pistol and kept a revolver in his vehicle.

Eason asked his attorney, Ronald C. Travis, to request Brann recommend he be placed at a federal corrections facility at Otisville, New York, instead of one in Fort Dix, New Jersey, where he might come in contact with individuals from Brooklyn, New York.

Eason was permitted the right to speak on his behalf and told the court he had an epiphany while in jail awaiting sentencing. It was after he read recent newspaper accounts and heard of overdoses in Williamsport and three deaths attributed to use of drugs.

Brann said Eason possessed the qualities of a man who could have been an athlete and had some athletic background. Each of the co-defendants in the case said they considered Eason to have unique leadership characteristics.

Travis said that in his two-plus years representing his client, he’d seen Eason’s growth and a longing to become part of the solution as opposed to being part of the problem, referencing heroin and its effect on communities.