A Utica woman will spend the next six years in prison for conspiring with a drug ring to distribute fentanyl in the City of Utica.

Five Indicted in Fentanyl Conspiracy

Photo by Emiliano Bar on Unsplash
Photo by Emiliano Bar on Unsplash
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U.S. Attorney Carla Freedman, Oneida County District Attorney and other representatives from various law enforcement agencies said the sentencing came Thursday in Federal Court.

26-year-old Melisa Muminovic of Utica is now the sixth co-conspirator sentenced as a result of an investigation into a distribution ring of the deadly drug into the greater Utica area.

Muminovic pleaded guilty that, from around January of 2021 to July of 2021, she and others knowingly and purposely distributed Fentanyl within the community.

Fentanyl is a powerful narcotic that is 100 times stronger than morphine. The synthetic opioid is also 50 times stronger than heroin and even the smallest exposure could lead to an overdose.

U.S. Attorney Freedman says:

More specifically, she acknowledged that she agreed to keep bags of fentanyl mixture at her residence and other locations, which she delivered to Brown and others, who in turn sold the fentanyl mixture to customers.

One of her co-conspirators was Jahari Brown Jr. of Utica. Muminovic admitted to accompanying Mr. Brown Jr. to the New York City area in order to purchase fentanyl and transport it back to Utica to package it for sale.

Co-conspirators Convicted and Sentenced

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23-year-old Jahari Brown Jr., aka “JB,” or “Yay,” of Utica was the leader of this operation. His sentence and charges were severe.

Brown Jr. was sentenced on April 26th, 2023 to serve 18 years in federal prison, 5 years post release supervision and forfeiture of $177,874.

He pleaded guilty to the following charges.

  • Attempted Murder in the Second Degree
  • Attempted Assault in the First Degree
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree
  • Criminal Possession of a Firearm
  • Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree
  • Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl
  • Distribution and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.

He was charged in both Federal Court and Oneida County Court and both sentences are to be served concurrently. The cases in Oneida County Court were prosecuted by the Oneida County District Attorney's Office.

In addition to Muminovic and Brown Jr. there were four others convicted and charged related to this conspiracy investigation. They include the following.

Kymani K. Minott, aka “Bizz,” aka “K-Bizz" of Utica

  • 20 Years Old
  • Sentenced on July 14th, 2022 to 60 months in prison, 4 years supervised release and forfeiture of $2,500.
  • Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and distribution of a mixture and substance containing fentanyl.

Daequon D. Perkins of Utica

  • 26 Years Old
  • Sentenced on November 10th, 2022 to 27 months in prison, 4 years post release supervision and forfeiture of $2,500.
  • Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and distribution of a mixture and substance containing fentanyl.

Mark W. Baker of Utica

  • 45 Years Old
  • Sentenced on May 18th, 2023 to 110 months in prison, 4 years post release supervision and forfeiture of $1,193.
  • He also had to forfeit three firearms including a .40 caliber pistol, two 12-gauge shotguns and several rounds of ammunition.
  • Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute, and possession with the intent to distribute, a mixture and substance containing fentanyl, possession of a firearm by a felon, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

Matthew Brooks of Utica

  • 37 Years Old
  • Sentenced on July 25th, 2023 to 108 months in prison, 3 years post release supervision and forfeiture of $3,377.
  • Brooks also had to forfeit four firearms including a Mossberg .22 caliber rifle, an Armalite M-15 semi-automatic rifle, a Mossberg Maverick 88 12-gauge shotgun and a Mossberg 500A 12-gauge shotgun.
  • Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute a mixture and substance containing fentanyl and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
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The investigation of this case was handled primarily by New York State Police and the Oneida County District Attorney's office. Both agencies had assistance from the City of Utica Police Department, DEA, and ATF. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew J. McCrobie and Richard R. Southwick prosecuted the case.

This case did a lot to try and diminish the spread of this deadly drug in our community and hopefully minimize the number of deaths that happen as a result of overdoses to our citizens.

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