Federal prosecutors on Long Island unsealed a three-count indictment Wednesday charging a 23-year-old Ridge man with selling heroin to a former high school wrestling star from Kings Park who fatally overdosed last year.
The indictment charges Richard Jacobellis with distribution of a controlled substance and for causing the death of 20-year-old Nicholas Weber.
Jacobellis was arrested Wednesday. He was expected to be arraigned at U.S. District Court in Central Islip later in the day. His arrest was the culmination of a multi-agency investigation involving Suffolk County police and federal authorities.
Investigators alleged that Jacobellis had been selling heroin on the Island since 2012.
Last May Jacobellis drove to Kings Park, investigators said, and sold $100 worth of heroin to Weber. He died shortly after taking it.
Weber was a former Suffolk County wrestling champion in his weight class at Kings Park High School. He had attended Suffolk County Community College and was slated to study physics at Stony Brook University in the fall semester.
The investigation also revealed that Jacobellis allegedly sold heroin to a user who overdosed a year before, but that person was saved from dying when Suffolk County police officers administered an overdose-reversing drug.
Despite Weber’s death and the near-fatal overdose of another user, Jacobellis continued to sell heroin, prosecutors alleged.
Last month, Jacobellis was caught selling heroin to a confidential informant, according to authorities.
Long Island, like many regions across the country, has been battling an opioid scourge for years. Weber’s death was among 93 heroin-related fatalities in 2016.
“The heroin epidemic on Long Island has cut short far too many young lives, like Nicholas,” United States Attorney for the Eastern District Robert Capers said in a statement. “To those heroin dealers who flood our streets with this highly addictive narcotic, be forewarned: if you sell heroin, my office and our law enforcement partners will prosecute you.”
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini echoed Capers’ warning.
“As I’ve made clear on numerous occasions, we will stop at nothing to hold drug dealers accountable for their depraved indifference to human life,” Sini said in a statement.