A twice-imprisoned drug dealer from Paterson admitted he sold the heroin that killed a user from Orange County, NY.
Shameik “Homeboy” Byrd, 31, who’s currently serving a state prison sentence, told a federal judge via videoconference in Newark that the death of 25-year-old Kean Cabral of Warwick was caused by heroin from the batch of “Trap Queen” that he’d been selling.
State authorities tried to prosecute Byrd and a couple who they said bought the drugs from him and sold some to Cabral in April 2016.
They were over-ruled, however, by the New Jersey Supreme Court, which said they didn’t have jurisdiction to prosecute someone for a drug-induced death that occurred in another state.
Federal authorities can. So they took the case.
It all began when Cabral was found dead of an overdose at his Warwick home the morning of April 3, 2016.
Three days later, detectives from the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office – alerted by Warwick police — set up surveillance in Paterson on April 6, 2019.
The investigators stopped Anthony Potts and his girlfriend, Noel Ferguson, after seeing them buy heroin on East 34th Street, authorities said at the time.
Ferguson turned over 50 or so folds of the “Trap Queen” they’d bought, authorities said.
Investigators found that Potts and Ferguson had previously sold several folds of the same heroin to Cabral after getting it from Byrd in Paterson, they said.
Byrd previously served 4 ½ years in state prison for robbery, drug dealing and resisting arrest before being released in October 2014, records show.
He was back behind bars less than two years later and has been imprisoned since September 2016 following convictions for drug dealing and leading police on a dangerous pursuit, among other offenses.
Byrd is scheduled to be released from the Mid-State Correctional Facility in Wrightstown this August, records show. He’s then expected to go into federal custody.
Rather than face a federal trial, Byrd pleaded guilty Thursday to possessing and distributing the heroin that led to Cabral’s death, Acting U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Rachael A. Honig said.
U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo scheduled sentencing for Sept. 14.
Honig credited special agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as detectives from the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice’s Gangs and Organized Crime Bureau Passaic County Sheriff’s Office and Warwick Police Department with the investigation leading to the guilty plea secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan L. O’Neill of her Health Care Fraud Unit.