The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT SWEET, Senior District Judge
On August 4, 2004, Defendant Bernard Wheeler ("Wheeler")
appeared before the Honorable Michael H. Dolinger of this
district and allocuted to the conduct charged in the sole count
of the indictment, conspiracy in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 to
distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram and
more of heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 812, 841(a)(1) and
841(b)(1) (A). Wheeler's plea was accepted on September 8, 2004.
Wheeler will be sentenced to 120 months' imprisonment and five
years' supervised release. A special assessment fee of $100 is
mandatory and is due immediately.
The undersigned, having reviewed the Presentence Investigation
Report prepared by the United States Probation Office, relies on
certain of the facts as set forth therein. The Offense Conduct
The indictment filed in this action charges that from at least
1999 through May 2004, Wheeler, along with his nineteen
co-defendants and others, were members of a criminal organization
in the Bronx that controlled a three-block strip of Daly Avenue
between East 179th Street and Bronx Park South (the "Daly Avenue
Organization" or the "Organization"). According to the
indictment, the Organization sold heroin all day and late into
the night during the period identified in the indictment,
conducting tens of thousands of hand-to-hand heroin transactions.
The Organization operated out of several buildings, including
2105 Daly Avenue and 2114 Daly Avenue.
Wheeler was a "worker" or "pitcher" for the Organization.
Workers or pitchers for the Organization would be provided heroin
on consignment by managers in the Organization, and would then
sell the heroin to customers, paying the managers for the heroin
as they were able to sell it. Workers and pitchers also acted as
"steerers," directing customers on Daly Avenue to other workers
or to managers to complete sales of heroin. According to the
indictment, eleven of Wheeler's co-defendants also acted as
workers or pitchers.
According to the government, based on observations on the
street as well as interviews, the Organization sold as much as 50 bundles of heroin a day, which amounts to approximately one
kilogram per month, although the actual amount could vary from
month to month.
According to the Presentence Investigation Report, Wheeler was
involved in the Organization from at least late April 2001 to May
2004,*fn1 in view of which period of involvement the
government has estimated that he should be held accountable for
between 10 and 30 kilograms of heroin.
Wheeler was arrested on May 11, 2004.
Wheeler was born in Queens County, New York in 1963 and is
divorced with three children.
Wheeler has reported no assets, and there is a child support
obligation as well as two judgments outstanding against him.
Wheeler acknowledges having used illicit substances in the
past, including marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin. He reports having used heroin fairly regularly from 1987 until
his arrest for the instant offense in May 2004.
Wheeler has several prior criminal convictions. He was
sentenced on March 21, 1984 to five years' probation after
pleading guilty to attempted burglary in the third degree, and
was subsequently resentenced to one year in custody as a result
of violating the terms of his parole.
On June 1, 1988 Wheeler pled guilty to an indictment charging
him with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth
degree, for which he was sentenced to two to four years'
imprisonment on July 5, 1988. Also on June 1, 1988, Wheeler pled
guilty to a separate indictment charging him with attempted
robbery in the second degree, during the commission of which
offense Wheeler pistol-whipped and stabbed an individual from
whom he had demanded money. For this second offense he was
sentenced to two to four years' imprisonment, to run concurrent
with the sentence imposed on the indictment for criminal sale of
a controlled substance.
On May 8, 1995, Wheeler pled guilty to criminal possession of a
controlled substance in the fifth degree with intent to sell and
was subsequently sentenced to three to six years' imprisonment. On April 27, 2001, Wheeler was arrested in front of 2105 Daly
Avenue in the Bronx and subsequently pled guilty to criminal
possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, for
which he was sentenced to time served and the suspension of his
driver's license. The underlying offense conduct involved ...