Two men were sentenced for their role in selling fentanyl to two Suffolk County residents who later died of an overdose.
Qhamel Dickerson, 28, of Huntington Station, and Rasheed Smith, 41, of Central Islip, were both sentenced for selling fentanyl that resulted in two unrelated overdose deaths of Suffolk County residents.
The victim’s cell phone, found at the scene, contained text messages between the victim and Dickerson in which Dickerson agreed to sell the victim illicit pills. On July 4, 2022, Dickerson met with the victim and sold her counterfeit pills that bore the color, shape, and markings of oxycodone, but contained fentanyl instead. Suffolk County Police Department responded the next day to a fatal drug overdose of a 23-year-old female in East Northport .
In August 2022, Dickerson used the same cell phone to communicate with an undercover detective from the Suffolk County Police Department, where Dickerson agreed to sell the undercover detective the same type of pills he sold to the overdose victim. Thereafter, at a location in Suffolk County, Dickerson met with the undercover detective and sold them counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl. Dickerson was arrested on September 1, 2022.
On March 10, 2023, Dickerson pleaded guilty before Acting Supreme Court Justice Anthony S. Senft, Jr., to two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. Dickerson faced up to nine years in prison at sentencing. On April 18, 2023, Judge Senft sentenced Dickerson to five years in prison followed by two years of post-release supervision. The District Attorney’s Office had requested an eight-year prison sentence.
In a separate case, on the morning of June 23, 2022, the Suffolk County Police Department responded to a home in Mastic and discovered a 43-year-old woman had fatally overdosed. The police recovered the victim’s cell phone which contained text messages between her and Smith from the night before her death. In those text message conversations, Smith agreed to sell the victim crack cocaine and fentanyl. Police learned that Smith had met the victim in Central Islip, where he sold her the drugs.
Within 48 hours of the victim’s death, Smith sold crack cocaine to an undercover detective in the Suffolk County Police Department. A couple of days later, Smith sold crack cocaine and fentanyl to the undercover detective. A search warrant was executed at Smith’s residence, where police found the cell phone he used to negotiate the sales of crack cocaine and fentanyl with both the victim and the undercover detective. Police also found an illegal, loaded Taurus semi-automatic firearm, crack cocaine, and a digital scale used for weighing narcotics for sale. Smith was arrested on June 29, 2022.
On April 7, 2023, Smith pleaded guilty before Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro to two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony, and one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, a Class C violent felony. Smith faced up to 12 years in prison at sentencing.
On May 18, 2023, Judge Ambro sentenced Smith to seven years in prison followed by five years of post-release supervision. The District Attorney’s Office had requested a 10-year prison sentence.
Prior to the conviction in this case, Smith had multiple prior convictions related to drug possession, including two separate convictions for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, a Class C felony, in both 2016 and 2019, as well as a felony conviction for violating the sex offender registry requirement as a second offense in 2013.
“The fentanyl epidemic has claimed the lives of two more innocent women, and the unfortunate reality is that this problem will continue to worsen without action,” Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said. “The dangers of fentanyl are not breaking news anymore. Not in Suffolk County, not in Albany, and not to the drug dealers who continue to push this poison into our communities. Cheap manufacturing and lethally high potency have exposed the legislative gaps that hinder law enforcement’s ability to effectively manage the situation. That is why I will continue to push for a death by dealer statute. We owe it to the victims and their families to hold all fentanyl dealers accountable for the deaths they cause.”