A Kent man was recently found guilty of selling a dangerous combination of heroin and fentanyl on two occasions in Putnam County.
According to District Attorney Robert Tendy, William Mancusi III, 47, was convicted Jan. 12 following a week-and-a-half-long jury trial in Putnam County Court. He was found guilty of two counts each of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal sale of a controlled substance, Class B felonies, in connection with his possession and sale of a substance containing heroin, fentanyl and xylazine.
On Nov. 12, 2021, New York State Police investigators responded to a fatal overdose in Southeast, where it was determined that the drugs tied to the fatality had come from Mancusi. Members of the NYSP Violent Gang & Narcotics Enforcement Team were able to conduct a series of undercover operations in the following days, during which Mancusi provided a confidential informant with a heroin, fentanyl and xylazine cocktail, said Tendy.
Mancusi was allegedly heard on audio recordings bragging that the combination was some of the strongest drugs he had in over a year, and urged the confidential informant to be careful in using them.
A chemical analysis conducted by NYSP Forensic Scientist Jenna Snow concluded that the drugs sold were, in fact, a very potent combination of heroin, fentanyl and xylazine.
“This defendant knowingly pushed deadly drugs into our community,” said Tendy. “The drug cocktail he was selling had an additional deadly layer to it when you consider it had xylazine, which is unresponsive to Narcan (a drug-reversal medication). This was extraordinarily dangerous stuff.”
County Court Justice Joseph Spofford remanded Mancusi to the Putnam County Correctional Facility immediately after the jury handed down its verdict. He faces up to 24 years in state prison. Sentencing is scheduled March 5.
In 2014, Mancusi was convicted by a Putnam County jury of felony driving while ability impaired by drugs. According to the district attorney, he also has a prior vehicular manslaughter conviction stemming from an incident in 2008 during which Mancusi – who was operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs – struck and killed a bicyclist in Dutchess County.
“Mr. Mancusi clearly didn’t learn his lessons from his two previous state prison sentences,” said Tendy. “We are grateful we have removed a career criminal from our community and are grateful to the jury for their service.”
The case was prosecuted by First Assistant D.A. Breanne Smith and Assistant D.A. Joseph Charbonneau. Tendy commended members of the NYSP VGNET for quickly investigating and assessing Mancusi’s involvement in the case, as well as the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Enforcement Unit and the NYSP Crime Lab for their assistance.