Gun-toting Rochester felon sentenced to 70 months for trafficking fentanyl

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Justin Smith (Rochester Police photo)

CONCORD - A Rochester was sentenced on Thursday to 70 months in federal prison for one count of distributing 40 grams and more of fentanyl.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on Aug. 27, 2019, at the direction of FBI agents, a cooperating individual met with the defendant, Justin Smith, 34, to purchase 200 grams of fentanyl. Smith explained that he had just sold off some of his supply and only had 100 grams available, which he agreed to sell to them the following day.

The next day, at the direction of the FBI, the cooperating individual drove to Smith's apartment wearing a recording device. After some 20 minutes, surveillance units observed Smith leave his apartment and enter the buyer's car with a second individual. Once inside the car, Smith produced the fentanyl from a pocket and completed the deal. The cooperating individual noticed that Smith had a firearm in another pocket, prompting Smith to explain that he had just obtained the gun prior to the deal, according to a state from the U.S. Attorneys Office.

Smith then handed the firearm to the second individual who unloaded it prior to handing it to the cooperating individual. After handling the gun briefly to examine it, it was handed back to Smith. The defendant and the other individual then left the car. After they departed, the cooperating individual turned the drugs over to a control agent, which led to lab analysis that confirmed the drugs to be 100.8 grams of fentanyl.

"This office will prosecute criminals who carry guns and deal drugs to the fullest extent of the law," said U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young. "This defendant sold over 100 grams of fentanyl. Thanks to the efforts of the FBI, we were able to bring the defendant to justice."

Smith had a later encounter with the law on Jan. 1, 2020 when he was arrested on criminal threatening and firearms charges after police responded to a fight involving a half dozen individuals on Lafayette Street early New Year's Day.

The fight broke out on the street around 12:45 a.m., with individuals yelling and screaming as they fought, Rochester Police Capt. Todd Pinkham said after the arrest.

"When we arrived the fight was broken up, but there were still people outside," Pinkham added.

During an investigation, police found Smith, of 20 Lafayette St., to be in possession of a firearm. It was also learned that he had the firearm out during the altercation and had pointed it at another person in a threatening manner, Pinkham said.

Smith was charged with being a felon in possession of a dangerous weapon and criminal threatening, both felonies.

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