Heroin network leader gets more than 21 years

It’s not clear precisely how many local overdoses, highs, and addictions the heroin Kalif English sold resulted in.

But officials in the U.S. Middle District Court Wednesday believed the evidence indicated 1 to 3 kilograms had been distributed in an efficient system that English, 30, used to create a franchise model of drug provision for heroin users in Williamsport and the region.

English was sentenced to serve more than 21 years in federal prison by U.S. Middle District Judge Matthew W. Brann, but not before English talked about his challenges growing up fatherless in the streets of Philadelphia, introduced to a way of paying for new sneakers and surviving without a family.

“I’ve done a lot of soul searching,” English said, before hearing a recount from Assistant U.S. Attorney George J. Rocktashel how English served as a mastermind for a 27-person conspiracy.

The drug trafficking network distributed heroin cheaply, at $10 a bag, and got it directly and efficiently to a growing customer base, meeting them in rental cars at shopping malls, parking lots outside restaurants and hotels in Williamsport and the region.

Just before sentencing, English spoke for about 20 minutes asking for mercy, calling himself a piece of crap and saying he searched his soul, acknowledging the dealers delivered 1 to 3 kilograms, or 40,000 to 120,000 doses of potentially fatal heroin to the city and region, including Mansfield, Danville and Bloomsburg.

All along the Interstate 80 and 180 corridors, the dealer was in charge of getting about $400,000 worth of heroin to users.

Attending the sentencing were five of his children, including two of his sons and three daughters barely understanding the severity of what was transpiring or the legal jargon.

Rocktashel explained how law enforcement tracked English selling 231 bags of heroin in March 2015 in Lycoming County and elsewhere, how English and another conspirator sold 60 bags of heroin later in August of that year and English separately sold 933 bags of heroin and 63 bags of cocaine in August 2015. English’s car was stopped in Columbia County on Jan. 19, 2016, where authorities found 201 bags of heroin inside the vehicle.

English was so emboldened he bragged to a state trooper that he directly contributed to the price dropping to $10 a bag for heroin in Williamsport and the region.

Intercepted cellphone calls linked English to sales of firearms for drugs and English’s conspiracy network was making $10,000 a day because of the volume of users – the ability to bring heroin to addicts, Rocktashel said.

A federal grand jury in Williamsport returned a 13-count superseding indictment on Feb. 11, 2016 charging multiple individuals with conspiracy to distribute heroin, crack cocaine, and the opiate buprenorphine, known as Suboxone.

The conspiracy distributed heroin, crack cocaine, and buprenorphine to a network of drug users and sellers along the Interstate 80 corridor between Bloomsburg and Williamsport from August 14, 2014 through 2016.

Brann accepted a guilty plea of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances on Sept. 12, 2018.

Before sentencing, his grandmother spoke.

“I still have hope for him,” she said crying.

“No matter what he’s done they still looking up to him,” she said pointing toward his family in court.

“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future,” Brann said.

But the jurist warned those who might sell heroin in the Williamsport division of this federal court — you will go to prison — no exceptions.

The remaining conspirators in the drug trafficking conspiracy have been sentenced or are going to prison.