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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of New York
Carla B. Freedman, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Syracuse Man Sentenced to 138 Months for Distributing Fentanyl and Unlawfully Carrying a Firearm

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Maurice Owens, age 22, of Syracuse, was sentenced today to serve 138 months in prison following his conviction for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, distributing and possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl, and using and carrying a firearm while drug-trafficking announced United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and John B. DeVito, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

During his prior guilty plea, Owens admitted that he sold fentanyl to a customer on December 2, 2020, and December 7, 2020. On December 10, 2020, Owens was sitting in a car in a parking lot near where he previously had sold fentanyl. He saw police officers approaching, exited the car, and fled while carrying a loaded “ghost gun” that did not bear any serial number. Owens also had in his possession at the time three glassine envelopes containing fentanyl. Owens previously was convicted of a felony offense in state court and was prohibited under state law from possessing the gun.

From approximately December 10, 2020, until February 27, 2021, Owens was detained in a local jail. While incarcerated, Owens participated in multiple calls in which he arranged for associates to supply heroin and fentanyl to the customers to whom Owens no longer could sell because he was in jail. Owens received a share of the proceeds from these sales. Owens and his associates sold at least 81 grams of fentanyl.

United States District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby also sentenced Owens to a four-year term of supervised release to begin after he serves his term of imprisonment and ordered him to pay a forfeiture judgment in the amount of $6,200, which represented the proceeds from drug sales.

This case was investigated by ATF and the Syracuse Police Department Criminal Intelligence Section. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Sutcliffe and former Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Beaty prosecuted this case as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

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