DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of New York

For Immediate Release

Friday, February 26, 2016
Richard S. Hartunian
, United States Attorney
Contact: AUSA Michael Barnett

Amstederam Man Admits to Unlawfully Possessing Guns and Distributing Heroin

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Shawn Taft, age 46, of Amsterdam, New York, pled guilty today to being a felon in possession of five firearms and to distributing heroin.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, New York Division, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

In May 2014, Taft sold heroin to a confidential informant on two separate occasions in the city of Schenectady. On July 8, 2015, the U.S. Marshals Service, with assistance from the Amsterdam Police Department, went to arrest Taft at his home. While arresting him, an officer observed a .22 caliber rifle in a closet in the front bedroom of Taft’s residence. Officers went on to find four additional firearms in the residence, which were three rifles and a High Standard, model 88, .22 caliber revolver. The revolver was found in a bag of dog food on the back porch. Taft had previously been convicted of a felony and could not possess a firearm.

U.S. District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino is scheduled to sentence Taft on June 23, 2016. Distributing heroin carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $1 million and a term of supervised release of up to life. Being a felon in possession of a firearm carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release of up to 3 years. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on a combination of factors including the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and relevant statutes.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives and the U.S. Marshals Service, in conjunction with the Schenectady Police Department and the Amsterdam Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth R. Rabe.

Field Division: New York Field Division