Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Nalerton Charles, also known as “Lite,” was sentenced by United States District Judge I. Leo Glasser to 210 months’ imprisonment for distribution and possession with intent to distribute narcotics. Charles pleaded guilty to the charge in November 2021.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Frank A. Tarentino III, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division (DEA), Keechant L. Sewell, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), and Kevin P. Bruen, Superintendent, New York State Police (NYSP), announced the sentence.
“Charles contributed to the terrible opioid epidemic in our district by selling heroin laced with fentanyl, and on occasion fentanyl alone, with flagrant disregard for the potentially deadly consequences of the drugs to users,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “The defendant’s conviction and today’s sentence are the result of the relentless efforts by this Office and our law enforcement partners to prosecute traffickers dealing lethal drugs for profit and bring justice for the victims and families devastated by the opioid scourge.”
“Fentanyl is responsible for nearly 80% of all drug-related overdose deaths in New York,” stated DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Tarentino. “It is cases like this that highlight the dangers of synthetic drugs and the consequences associated with illicit drug use and drug trafficking. I commend the members of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force and the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York for their relentless work in keeping the communities safe.”
“As this case demonstrates, anyone who peddles this deadly poison in our city will be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” stated NYPD Commissioner Sewell. “The callous disregard for human life displayed by this defendant is indicative of the reckless and negligent depravity of dealing illegal drugs. These criminals prey on some of our community’s most vulnerable people, and the NYPD will never cease in our efforts to bring them to justice. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District, the DEA, and all of our investigators for their outstanding work on this case.”
“Mr. Charles sentencing illustrates the work of a strong law enforcement partnership that has resulted in a dangerous individual being taken off the streets. Drugs such as heroin and fentanyl destroy families, communities and put lives at risk. This sentencing sends a clear message that we will not tolerate the illegal drug activity and the deadly consequences associated with it. We will remain vigilant in pursuing and prosecuting criminals who threaten the safety of our neighborhoods,” stated NYSP Superintendent Bruen.
Between July 2018 and April 2019, Charles sold at least 40 grams of fentanyl and heroin laced with fentanyl. The investigation revealed that on September 9, 2018, a 43-year-old individual (John Doe-1) died of a drug-related overdose at his residence on Staten Island. Drug packaging found near John Doe -1’s body was consistent with the packaging that Charles used for the narcotics he sold, and a search of John Doe-1’s phone indicated that he had purchased narcotics from Charles the night before his death. On April 23, 2019, a 29-year-old individual (John Doe -2) died of a drug-related overdose at his residence on Staten Island. A search of John Doe -2’s phone revealed text messages between Charles and John Doe -2. On the morning of John Doe-2’s death, he texted Charles, “Is it mix w fentonal…Just wanna know to be careful”. Shortly before John Doe -2’s body was discovered, Charles texted Victim-2: “U good”. Autopsies performed on both victims revealed traces of heroin and fentanyl in their bodies. Additionally, Charles sold pure fentanyl to a confidential source and an undercover NYPD officer in doses that could have been lethal if consumed.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Justice, in 2019, nearly 71,000 people died from drug overdoses, making it a leading cause of injury-related death in the United States. The increase in overdose deaths has been driven in large part by fentanyl – a drug that has been described as 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. In 2019, over 14,000 people died in the United States from a drug overdose involving heroin. From 2013 to 2019, the synthetic opioid death rate increased by more than 1,000 percent. Of those deaths, over 70% involved a prescription or illicit opioid. Among New York State residents, the number of overdose deaths involving any opioid increased each year between 2010 and 2017, with an overall increase of 200.2 percent from 1,074 in 2010 to 3,224 in 2017, according to the New York State Health Department.
This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Department of Justice Trial Attorney Miriam L. Glaser Dauermann of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section under the supervision of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
NALERTON CHARLES (also known as “Lite”)
Staten Island, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-293 (ILG)